Report: Lakers plan to keep Russell Westbrook, don’t want to give up additional assets to trade him

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

Throughout much of the 2021-22 NBA regular season, one of the primary rumors out of Los Angeles was that the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to find a way to offload guard Russell Westbrook to another team.

Now that the offseason is just a few weeks away, it seems that the story is changing quite a bit.

According to a recent report, the Lakers now plan to keep Westbrook for next season.

“The Lakers are tuning out the skeptics yet again and insisting to anyone who will listen that they would rather keep Russell Westbrook on the roster for next season than surrender additional assets to convince someone to trade for him,” NBA insider Marc Stein wrote. “The Lakers are also said to be adamant that they won’t release the former MVP and eat his $47.1 million player option for next season after Westbrook picks it up.”

It’s a major shift in narrative for the Lakers. After all, Westbrook was pegged as one of the primary reasons for the Lakers’ incredibly disappointing 2021-22 season.

However, it is not all that shocking that the team will apparently elect to keep the former MVP. He is a hard asset to trade at the moment. Moreover, it is hard to know what the Lakers would expect in return for the 33-year-old guard.

This season, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. While his inability to mold his game to fit the Lakers’ style of play surely played a role in the team’s struggles, the biggest reason why the Lakers faltered so greatly was because of key absences due to injury.

Most notably, Anthony Davis missed a huge portion of the season due to injuries.

Perhaps, the Lakers front office is betting that the team will enjoy greater success next season with a healthy roster. That could be even more true thanks to newly hired Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, who is sure to build much of his game plan around finding a way to make Davis, Westbrook and LeBron James work best together.

With Westbrook’s spot on the roster seemingly assured for next season, the team can likely enjoy a productive and drama-free offseason.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.