Though the rest of the basketball world has its collective gaze fixed on the NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers are already looking ahead to the offseason.
That is, of course, because the Lakers missed the postseason entirely this year and did not even advance to the play-in tournament.
A lot of different factors played a role in the intense level of disappointment that the Lakers achieved this season, and one of those factors was absolutely the addition of Russell Westbrook.
The former MVP never seemed to gel with his teammates on the court, and there were signs that trouble was brewing fairly early on in the campaign.
Earlier in the year, the Lakers were reportedly in talks with the Houston Rockets regarding a deal that involved John Wall and Westbrook. Of course, a deal never materialized.
A recent report states that the Lakers’ front office doesn’t appear to “truly value” Wall while the Rockets’ front office seems to feel the same way about Westbrook.
“But those February conversations between Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers never gained serious traction, sources told B/R,” Jake Fischer reported. “The Rockets sought a future Lakers first-rounder, which was a non-starter for L.A.’s front office. It still seems unlikely that such a deal framework will ever cross the finish line.
“From conversations with league figures familiar with those talks, neither front office appears to truly value the opposing player. And if the 33-year-old Wall picks up his $47.4 million player option for 2022-23 as expected, it could be even more challenging for Houston to shed him than for the Lakers to move Westbrook’s expiring contract.”
With that potential deal seemingly a thing of the past, it will be fascinating to see how the Lakers try to move on from Westbrook this offseason. Both sides reportedly have “mutual interest” in parting ways.
Though it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Lakers will deal Westbrook, it is also not entirely clear who around the NBA would want him. The Charlotte Hornets apparently are a “team to watch” on the Westbrook trade front.
Whatever happens, it is unfortunate that things haven’t worked out for Westbrook in L.A. Surely, the Southern California native would have loved to enjoy great success with his hometown team this season.