What Should LA Lakers Do with Russell Westbrook? Insider Opinions Vary Widely News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

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The 2022 NBA commerce deadline, the NBA draft and the guts of free company have all come and gone, and the Lakers nonetheless don’t have any decision on their Russell Westbrook downside.

There are not any simple options, and many troublesome questions.

Should the Lakers do no matter it takes to commerce him? Can they open the 2022-23 season with Westbrook of their beginning lineup? How about off the bench? Or ought to they offer him the “John Wall remedy” like final 12 months’s Houston Rockets, who paid Wall a most wage to take a seat out the season?

These questions have been despatched far and huge to quite a lot of NBA figures, from executives to brokers to fellow colleagues within the media. The range in solutions solely emphasizes the quandary the Lakers face shifting ahead.

Trade Westbrook? At What Cost, and for Whom?

Ahead of February’s commerce deadline, the Lakers have been trying to discover Westbrook a brand new house. So far, they have not discovered a viable resolution.

LA has talked to groups just like the Brooklyn Nets about Kyrie Irving and the Indiana Pacers for a mixture of Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. As issues at present stand, there isn’t any deal available, though there’s nonetheless loads of time for that to vary earlier than the beginning of the season.

“First, I’d swing for the fences in a commerce,” an NBA media analyst stated. “The ones I’ve heard for Kyrie with a shooter or Turner and Buddy appear unrealistic, however they need to go for it. I’d do as many picks as wanted to make a deal occur, so long as they’ve top-10 safety .”

Should the Lakers actually be giving out unprotected or flippantly protected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, years after the contracts of LeBron James and Anthony Davis expire? Is Irving—essentially the most proficient of the names talked about—dependable sufficient for LA to depend on?

“The Lakers are pot-committed,” the analyst continued, referencing a poker state of affairs the place a participant lacks leverage after making aggressive early bets. “I’d do these two picks for Buddy and Turner. I like that greater than Kyrie. That dude flat-out frightens me. But I’d take him over the pie-in-the-sky-let-Russ-cook possibility .”

An NBA insider had a distinct (and broader) tackle Irving and the Nets.

“Kyrie is the transfer. They ought to provide Davis with Westbrook. Try and get Kevin Durant. KD for AD and a decide is as shut as [the Nets] will get to what they need.”

That could or will not be true contemplating that Davis hasn’t been persistently wholesome, and the Boston Celtics would possibly be capable to trump a Lakers provide with Jaylen Brown as a centerpiece. An Indiana bundle could provide extra depth, however is it sufficient?

“What do Buddy and Turner do for the Lakers? Add a 5 % likelihood the workforce wins a title?” an NBA govt stated. “That’s most likely price one protected first, however definitely not two.”

“Maybe if they may mix the Nets and Pacers into one commerce, deliver again Kyrie, Turner and Buddy, that’d be price giving up a few firsts,” the manager continued. “Even if that saved the Nets a ton of cash and Indiana obtained two firsts out of it, do they comply with work collectively to assist LeBron and the Lakers contend?”

Meanwhile, an NBA agent steered the Lakers needs to be affected person in buying and selling Westbrook.

“He’ll develop into simpler to commerce nearer to the deadline [with the Lakers responsible for more than half of his 2022-23 salary]. That’s rather a lot much less cash for an proprietor to spend on,” the agent stated. “Teams are extra lifelike about the place they stand at that time. Other gamers develop into sad. Some could develop into out there that [simply] aren’t proper now.”

An NBA supply additionally took a comparatively conservative strategy.

“I’d be keen to commerce him for a number of position gamers and put one of many picks on the desk,” the supply stated. “If you need each picks, it needs to be for one thing extra thrilling than simply a few rotation guys who most likely do not transfer the needle for title competition. What about [the Utah Jazz] for Mike Conley and Bojan [Bogdanovic]? Send Westbrook and one of many picks. They’re helpful and doubtlessly cheaper to get due to barely negative-value contracts.”

Start, Bench or ‘John Wall’ Westbrook?

Once once more, opinions have been assorted.

“If they arrive up with nothing in commerce, they should shoot for the moon by attempting to have success with Russ,” the NBA media analyst stated. “It’s not like they’ve younger guys that want expertise that he is blocking.”

“Russ off the bench, possibly in an ideal world, however with pleasure and ego and position—I do not know if that actually helps a lot, both,” the analyst continued. “Try to promote LeBron on taking part in the Miami Heat position of off-ball finisher when he was taking pictures like 60 % from the sector. Start Russ and let him do Russ issues with LeBron and AD taking part in off of him for the primary 18 minutes of every half. Crunch time, Russ sits, and LeBron runs the present.”

The agent had the alternative take.

“They’re higher with out Russ, and he will not come off the bench. Good luck with that. He’s going to b—h and moan. He thinks he is the Russ of previous,” the agent stated. “‘John Wall’ him and take time… to know what they want earlier than leaping in. The workforce cannot lose this commerce, and everybody is aware of it. Trading simply to commerce is an terrible mentality.”

The league supply would not purchase it.

“I would not John Wall him. The Lakers care about titles. This workforce with out Westbrook goes nowhere except issues obtained so dangerous that he was actively undermining stuff,” the league supply stated. “Stagger him and LeBron as a lot as attainable. If he is washed, then that is a distinct difficulty. But a part of the issue is {that a} tentative Westbrook is just like the worst participant ever. You have to determine some technique to empower him with out indulging his worst habits.”

If the Lakers can not transfer Westbrook earlier than the season, they may be greatest off beginning him. It’s price seeing what head coach Darvin Ham can do with the roster as constructed.

If Westbrook turns into an issue in the course of the season, the Lakers may ship him away till the commerce deadline or reduce him unfastened afterwards if they do not discover a deal.

The numerous takes would have fallen in line if the trail have been apparent. It is not. But that is the place the Lakers stand with two months to go earlier than coaching camp opens in late September.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and observe him on Twitter, @EricPincus.

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