Report: Lakers officials don’t want to ‘pay a premium’ to trade Russell Westbrook after giving up so much to acquire him

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

While the Los Angeles Lakers could end up trading Russell Westbrook, a new report indicates that they have no plans to give away a valuable trade asset to make it happen.

Marc Stein indicated that the Houston Rockets have offered to deal for Westbrook, but the Lakers are reluctant to include a 2027 first-round pick less than a year after making the blockbuster deal.

“Yet there are also major optics concerns for the Lakers,” Stein wrote. “Team officials, sources say, do not want to pay a premium to move on from Westbrook so soon after the Lakers gave up so much to get the Los Angeles native. Remember: They had to send Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 pick in last July’s draft to Washington after [LeBron] James and [Anthony] Davis encouraged the Lakers’ front office to go all-in for Westbrook rather than proceed with GM Rob Pelinka’s plans to trade for Sacramento’s Buddy Hield.”

The price last year to acquire a superstar guard like Westbrook from the Washington Wizards was a steep one. However, at the time, the deal was seen as a huge boost to the championship aspirations of the Lakers.

Injuries, COVID-19 concerns and the inability of Westbrook to make any real impact with the Lakers this season changed that perception and began rumors of a potential trade.

The Lakers are 24-24 entering Thursday night’s road game against the Philadelphia 76ers, a far cry from what they and many in the NBA were expecting to take place.

There’s still plenty of time for the Lakers to improve, but whether or not Westbrook ends up being a part of any improvement is open to question.

Halfway through their six-game Eastern Conference road trip, the Lakers have won two of their three contests. However, they’ve only won three of their last eight, so the time to make any sort of improvement needs to begin soon.

The Thursday game against the 76ers will be followed by matchups against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night and the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.