Russell Westbrook makes drastic change via social media as Lakers trade rumors continue to swirl

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook made a major change to his social media following a report that Los Angeles was close to trading him before training camp.

Westbrook has deleted or archived all of his posts on his Instagram, and the timing is certainly interesting given the nature of the rumors surrounding the former MVP.

Russell Westbrook Lakers

“Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Buss and senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis seriously considered sending Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the [Indiana] Pacers for center Myles Turner and guard Buddy Hield, sources said,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jovan Buha wrote. “They held a series of meetings in the days leading up to camp to analyze the possible Pacers deal from every angle, with the views of [Darvin] Ham and Lakers executives Joey and Jesse Buss also being strongly considered in the process.”

The Lakers reportedly are considering bringing Westbrook off the bench if he does remain with the team in the 2022-23 season, which would be a major change from his role with the team last season.

The Lakers and Pacers have been rumored to be working on a deal involving Westbrook, Turner and Hield for quite some time, but Los Angeles has been hesitant to include both its 2027 and 2029 first-round selections.

“The Lakers and Pacers also discussed adding a third team, such as the [Memphis] Grizzlies, who could take a 2027 or 2029 first-rounder from the Lakers for two first-rounders of their own to send to Indiana, according to sources,” Charania, Amick and Buha wrote. “For the Pacers, every conversation with the Lakers led to an ultimate demand: Both of L.A.’s available first-round picks — or no deal.”

With Westbrook expected to make north of $47 million on his player option next season, the Lakers have found it hard to move him without having to give up significant draft capital.

The nine-time All-Star finished the 2021-22 season averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.

So far, Westbrook has done and said all the right things this offseason, but it’s possible his social media activity signals that he knows a change is coming.

“So far in training camp, Westbrook has been described as a solid professional and as a player providing both energy and passion during the Lakers’ scrimmages,” Charania, Amick and Buha wrote. “That’s a continuation of the summer, when Westbrook attended Ham’s and [Patrick] Beverley’s introductory press conferences, respectively, and sat next to the team’s bench during their first summer league game in Las Vegas.”

As the start of the regular season approaches, the Lakers will need to figure out exactly what Westbrook’s role with the team will be, as the team can’t afford a slow start if it wants to contend for a title in the 2022-23 campaign.

Share This Article
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.