Report: Lakers bringing back Russell Westbrook next season is ‘impossible’ based on current tension levels

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers have not seen the success that they wanted this season with Russell Westbrook on the team, and it apparently has set the stage for the team to move on from after the current campaign.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, it is “impossible” for the Lakers to bring Westbrook back for the 2022-23 season based on the current tension levels.

“For all the obvious complexities involved in trying to move Westbrook when he’s owed a whopping $47 million next season at age 34, one league source described the idea of bringing him back next season as ‘impossible’ based on current tension levels,” Stein wrote. “The question then becomes: If the Lakers can’t construct a palatable trade, do they try to just buy Westbrook out? Or waive and stretch him?”

Westbrook has a player option for the 2022-23 season that he probably will exercise. That would force the Lakers to make a decision on his future this coming offseason. Both sides reportedly have mutual interest in finding the nine-time All-Star a new home this offseason.

Los Angeles could try to find a trade, but it seems unlikely that the team would receive anything of high value in return for Westbrook.

This season, the Lakers are just 27-35 and hold the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference. Their struggles have been particularly bad as of late, as the team has lost four straight games and eight of its last 10.

Los Angeles seems destined for the league’s play-in tournament this season, and Westbrook’s struggles have been a key reason why.

During the 2021-22 season, Westbrook is averaging just 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 28.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Westbrook is averaging his fewest points per game since his second season in the NBA. He hasn’t been efficient for much of the current season.

Only time will tell what ends up happening, but unless there is a miraculous turnaround for Los Angeles, it’s hard to envision Westbrook in a Lakers uniform next season.

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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.