Report: Lakers now ‘more likely’ to move Russell Westbrook before start of training camp after Patrick Beverley trade

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to move guard Russell Westbrook before the start of training camp, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.

It makes sense, as the Lakers made a major deal on Wednesday night, acquiring guard Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Stanley Johnson and Talen Horton-Tucker.

“Beverley’s arrival makes it more likely that Westbrook will be off the active roster by the start of training camp, either through a trade or the team sending him home a la the [Houston] Rockets with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation,” Buha wrote.

As has been the case all offseason, the Lakers are going to need to move at least one first-round pick to get a team to take Westbrook’s massive contract for the 2022-23 season. The former MVP is slated to make $47.1 million in the final season of his deal.

Right now, the Lakers have a loaded guard rotation that features Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Beverley, Max Christie, Scotty Pippen Jr. and Austin Reaves. It’s also possible that wing Lonnie Walker IV plays some guard for the Lakers in the 2022-23 campaign.

After trading away Horton-Tucker, it appears there is another move in the cards for Los Angeles.

“Either way, this isn’t the Lakers’ final roster,” Buha wrote. “Another move is coming at some point. They are unlikely to make another deal right away, but the team is still actively pursuing Westbrook deals and other avenues to improve the roster before training camp, according to league sources.”

One avenue that the Lakers could explore is a deal with the Indiana Pacers. Talks between the two teams were considered “dead” earlier this offseason on a deal that would send Buddy Hield and Myles Turner to Los Angeles.

Now that the Lakers have an answer at point guard in Beverley, it’s possible they could reopen talks with Indiana with an improved offer. Adding Turner and Hield would make Los Angeles quite scary to face in the 2022-23 season.

Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star, finished the 2021-22 season averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.

His lack of outside shooting just doesn’t fit well with the Lakers’ current roster, and Los Angeles needs to find a way to add more shooting in the offseason, especially after losing Malik Monk in free agency.

Right now, it appears the best path for the Lakers to add more impact players is to move off of Westbrook. Whether the team can find a deal that it believes is worth making remains to be seen, but it certainly is in the cards as the 2022-23 regular season approaches.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.