Lakers Make Final Decision on Russell Westbrook’s Future Amid Trade Rumors: Report

Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a final decision on star point guard Russell Westbrook’s future amid trade rumors surrounding the nine-time All-Star.

According to a November 21 report from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, NBA executives believe the Lakers will keep Westbrook if he continues to play well off the bench.

“While some combination of Rob Pelinka, Myles Turner, and Buddy Hield has been trending topics on Twitter after each Lakers loss, many rival executives believe acquiring both players won’t make Los Angeles a contender in the West,” Scotto reported. “Some executives believe the Lakers will stand pat and ride out the Westbrook experiment if he continues to produce off the bench.”

Westbrook is currently flourishing in his bench role with the Lakers, who are 5-10 on the season. The 2016-17 MVP is averaging 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.6 assists since coming off the bench while shooting 43.6% from the field, 39.6% from beyond the arc and 80.0% from the free-throw line.

The Lakers aren’t interested in parting ways with their first-round picks in 2027 and 2029. The Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers want Los Angeles’ two future draft picks for taking on Westbrook, whose contract expires after this season. The All-NBA guard is in the final year of the five-year, $206.8 million extension he signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in September 2017. Westbrook is making $47,063,478 in 2022-23.

Lakers Offered Lottery-Protected Pick & Westbrook to Spurs

Before the season, the Lakers offered a lottery-protected first-round pick and Westbrook to the Spurs for guard Josh Richardson and small forward Doug McDermott, according to Scotto. The trade didn’t happen because San Antonio wanted an unprotected first-round pick from Los Angeles.

“Before the season, the Lakers offered a lottery-protected first-round pick and Russell Westbrook to the Spurs for Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott, HoopsHype has learned,” Scotto reported. “The Spurs, however, wanted an unprotected first-round pick for taking on Westbrook’s salary with the expectation he’d be waived, which the Lakers were unwilling to do, and talks stalled.”

The Lakers got a good look at Richardson and McDermott on November 20 at Arena. Los Angeles blew out San Antonio by a final score of 123-92. Richardson had 10 points in 18 minutes, while McDermott scored eight points in 18 minutes. Westbrook recorded a double-double (10 points, 10 assists) off the bench in 21 minutes. The Lakers and Spurs face each other again on November 25 and November 26 at the AT&T Center.

Lakers Are Receiving Calls About Westbrook

Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reported on November 10 that the Lakers have been receiving calls about Westbrook’s availability. The UCLA product has improved his trade value around the league due to his improved play off the bench.

“With Russell Westbrook thriving in his new role as a sixth man, the Lakers are now receiving calls about his availability, sources say, but talks are not at a serious stage,” Haynes reported.

Westbrook is averaging 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists on the season. The future Hall of Famer is shooting 40.6% overall, 33.3% on 3-pointers and 80.0% from the charity stripe. Westbrook, 34, leads the Lakers in assists per game and is second in 3-point field goals.

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