Report: Several execs and sources close to Lakers believe team is operating as if Russ will be on roster to start next season

Jonathan Sherman
2 Min Read

During the 2021-22 NBA season, Russell Westbrook’s struggles with the Los Angeles Lakers made for a major story.

Shortly after the season began, it became apparent that the team had made a mistake by trading for the former MVP. Westbrook had seemingly lost a step compared to previous years, and his unwillingness or inability to change his playing style to fit the Lakers’ needs dramatically hampered the team.

By the time L.A.’s season came to an end, rumors indicated that the team was going to do everything possible to trade Westbrook.

Now, with the NBA offseason almost here, the tune has changed dramatically. Reports have trickled out about the team’s willingness to keep Westbrook for the 2022-23 season.

A new report suggests that the Lakers are actually operating as if Westbrook will be on the roster to start next season.

“We may find out soon enough as sources close to the team, along with several competing executives, believe the Lakers are operating as if Russell Westbrook will be on the roster to start next season,” Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report wrote.

Given what fans know about the situation, this development is not all that surprising. After all, the Lakers took on Westbrook’s massive contract when they traded for him last summer. It’s arguably one of the hardest deals to move in the entire league. That is compounded by the fact that Westbrook is absolutely no longer the player that he once was.

Still, the Lakers might be able to make their trio of Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis work. A healthy Davis would certainly make matters easier. Whether or not the trio can enjoy success will partly hinge on new head coach Darvin Ham’s ability to mold the team’s style around the talent on the roster.

Only time will tell if he is in fact able to do so effectively.

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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.