Although the Lakers have kept their options open in a Russell Westbrook trade deal, the team still “hasn’t found a trade that could elevate them,” according to NBA reporter Brian Windhorst. Reports that the Lakers were involved in Westbrook trade talks with the Jazz and Knicks have been debunked by RealGM.
According to Windhorst, the Lakers have had several conversations about three-way deals, not with Utah or New York.
“From what I’ve been told, it would make sense for the Knicks to do a three-way deal with the Jazz and Lakers, but that was never part of the conversation,” Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast. “There was a three-team build between the Jazz and Knicks for Donovan Mitchell where players would go to a third team. They clearly didn’t make a deal, but the shippers weren’t directly involved in that.”
The Lakers have reportedly been in talks with the Pacers, Spurs and a few other unnamed teams instead. The Lakers are reportedly adamant about not attaching their next two trade-eligible first-round picks to Westbrook’s contract, starting in the 2027 and 2029 NBA drafts.
At this point, the Lakers are likely to keep Westbrook and his expiring $47.1 million contract this season and explore their options as the trade deadline approaches in February.
“I don’t think there’s a trade for Westbrook that the Lakers have now, even with their pick,” Windhorst said. “The sentiment around the league is what it is right now, and it can change in a week; the executives I’m talking to right now are trying to make the most of what they feel around the league and hope things turn around for them.
The Lakers missed the playoffs after finishing the injury-riddled 2021-22 season 33-49. During the season, the Lakers relieved Frank Vogel of the head coaching job and hired Darwin Hamm.
The Lakers hope Hamm can improve the team defensively, build the offense around Anthony Davis and find a way to help Westbrook thrive as he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 rebounds per game on 44.4 percent shooting from the field. Hamm told reporters that he believes Westbrook has “a ton left in the tank” and that he “wholeheartedly plans” to use Westbrook to his full potential.
Hamm believes he’s found Patrick Beverley and Westbrook soon. You can start games together. If both play defense. Beverley believes the 2017 MVP can “perfectly” tie next to Westbrook when playing out of the post and in transition.
The Lakers open the season against Golden State on the same night the Warriors receive their 2022 NBA Championship rings.