Lakers insider discusses ‘disaster scenario’ where they pull plug on season and keep Russell Westbrook

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

Although the Los Angeles Lakers got their first win of the season on Sunday against the strong Denver Nuggets, they’re still facing an uphill climb.

They will eventually have to deal with the 900-pound elephant in the room: what to do with Russell Westbrook.

They’re reportedly still interested in trading him at some point, but reporter Jovan Buha talked about a “disaster scenario” in which they may decide to simply keep Westbrook and let his contract expire at the end of the season.

“I think the disaster scenario where the Lakers go 5-20 at the 25-game mark — that is maybe a scenario from my understanding that they would potentially pull the plug on it and just be like, ‘OK, we’re gonna stand pat and this roster is what it is. This is kind of like a lost season, and there’s really no point in going for it when we’re this far behind.’ So that’s, I think, the one scenario in which they wouldn’t continue to pursue this, but my understanding is they are going to continue to pursue this.”

Los Angeles looked very solid versus Denver on Sunday, as it went on a big run late in the third quarter to take control of the contest. It scored a season-high 121 points while shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range and holding the Nuggets to 42.7 percent overall shooting.

If the Lakers have one thing going undoubtedly well for them, it’s their defense. They currently rank third in defensive rating, which is a dramatic turnaround from last year, when they ranked just 21st in that category.

But they’re still figuring out plenty of things. Westbrook has come off the bench in their last two games, and while he looked outstanding against Denver, it will continue to be a work in progress.

They also need to find a consistent third and fourth option on offense after LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Kendrick Nunn was supposed to be one of those options, but he hasn’t started the season well, and while Lonnie Walker IV has looked sleek at times, his efficiency and consistency are questionable.

L.A. is still without two key pieces, as Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant are out with thumb injuries. Schroder is supposed to give it another scoring option, as well as another traditional distributing guard, while Bryant could significantly upgrade the center position and allow head coach Darvin Ham to play bigger lineups.

Therefore, it does seem to make sense that the Lakers should wait at least a few weeks because aggressively pursuing a potential Westbrook trade, especially since certain players cannot be traded until Dec. 15.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.