Russell Westbrook Lakers
Photo: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Los Angeles Lakers are facing giant questions this offseason regarding their situation with Russell Westbrook. The former league MVP has a $47 million player option for the next season, and he’ll certainly pick it up to remain in South Cali and for personal endeavors.

As such, that’ll be a difficult case to deal with for the franchise, especially if they want to move on with the future hall of famer after a catastrophic 2021-2022 season. Jovan Buha of The Athletic further detailed that potential trade partners are “demanding” of at least a first-round pick in order to entertain a Westbrook deal. 

“Teams have been demanding the inclusion of at least one first-round pick to take on Westbrook’s massive expiring contract, according to league sources. Rival teams know how much of a public trainwreck last season was for the Lakers, and they’re not looking to do Los Angeles any favors by helping them off of Westbrook’s contract.”

That has been the common idea of whispers surrounding a possible Westbrook transaction all year long. Notably, the Houston Rockets have reportedly offered John Wall to the Lakers in exchange for the star point guard and its coveted 2027 first-round selection. Eventually, this proposal didn’t materialise into reality. 

Westbrook tallied an average of 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game in his first season donning the purple and gold gear, but these numbers weren’t able to lift Los Angeles on the hype and expectations that they harvested last offseason. 

The Lakers have plenty of reasons to present on their humiliating downfall like the unavailability of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the inability of Westbrook to mesh up with his co-stars remains a hot narrative being displayed as a motive to pull the trigger on the ongoing scenario. 

At the end of the day, this Lakers-Westbrook issue has been one of the most focal topics heading to the offseason, and the whole NBA world is certainly watching on how things will end up for both sides.