The Los Angeles Lakers have some tough decisions ahead of them with the February 9 trade deadline closing in, but they have to worry about some internal issues first. After their February 7 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, in which LeBron James broke the all-time scoring record, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Russell Westbrook and Lakers head coach Darvin Ham got into a “heated” altercation.
“ESPN Sources: Lakers G Russell Westbrook and coach Darvin Ham had a brief, heated verbal exchange in the halftime locker room on Tuesday vs. OKC. Ham expressed frustration with how Westbrook lingered on the playing floor after getting subbed out of game late in second quarter,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
The guard was subbed out with roughly 59 seconds to go in the second quarter, with James being inserted into the game. He finished the first half with 11 points, three rebounds, and three assists on 4-of-10 shooting overall and 3-of-6 from shooting from deep.
Despite the mid-game blowup, Westbrook went on to play more minutes in the second half than he did in the first. He totaled 13:49 of court time in the first half (fourth on the team) and 14:11 in the second (also fourth on the team).
Westbrook has been thrown around in a ton of trade rumors this season, but he remains in LA. He has accepted a bench role under Ham and has thrived in said role. The veteran star is averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game this season on 41.7% shooting from the floor and 29.6% shooting from behind the three-point line.
Russell Westbrook Deemed ‘Untradeable’ Piece
With the deadline looming, the Lakers will undoubtedly be exploring all options that involve moving on from Westbrook. That was even the case before his recent spat with Ham. However, according to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, LA won’t have any luck because Westbrook is an “untradeable” piece.
“That’s why the Lakers will surely keep shopping the 34-year-old ahead of Thursday’s cut-off, but they should expect to hear crickets in return,” Buckley wrote. “He is simply nowhere near a $47.1 million player at this point, and the fact that his contract expires at season’s end only cushions that financial blow so much. When L.A. dangled Westbrook and the picks in front of [the] Brooklyn [Nets], the Nets said they’d also need ‘all of their young players such as Austin Reaves and Max Christie and pick swaps’ added to the exchange, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. Brooklyn’s verdict—a reasonable stance, if a touch greedy—effectively told the Lakers what they probably knew already: Westbrook is essentially untradeable at this price.”
Lakers Eyeing Trade With Jazz
Despite Buckley’s thoughts, there is a deal that could be had with the Utah Jazz, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. He linked LA to a potential trade that would see them land the likes of Mike Conley and Malik Beasley.
“Sources said the Jazz have had discussions about a deal in which a combination of rotation players including Conley and Beasley would go to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for 2027 and 2029 first-round picks and Russell Westbrook, who would likely receive a buyout instead of joining the Jazz,” MacMahon reported on February 7.