Russell Westbrook’s and Kyrie Irving’s playing statuses curiously change as trade rumors heat up

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving both have seen their playing statuses change for Saturday’s NBA action.

Westbrook is listed as questionable for the Lakers against the New Orleans Pelicans with a non-COVID illness.

Irving is listed as out for the Nets against the Washington Wizards due to right calf soreness.

Both of these updates come in the wake of Irving’s trade request from Brooklyn on Friday.

If Irving is on the move, he could conceivably land with the Lakers in a deal for Westbrook in order for the teams to match salary. Irving has been unable to agree to a long-term deal with the Nets, and he is set to hit unrestricted free agency this coming offseason.

The Lakers reportedly would trade Westbrook and two first-round picks in a deal for Irving.

A deal like that would help Los Angeles contend for a title this season, but the Lakers would also have to hope they’d be able to keep Irving around beyond the 2022-23 season.

Westbrook has been solid as a sixth man for the Lakers this season, but he’s struggled with his shooting. The former MVP is averaging 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game while shooting 41.2 percent from the field and 28.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Irving would be a massive upgrade on offense for Los Angeles. He is averaging 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc this season.

The Nets may hold Irving out of the lineup to ensure he doesn’t suffer a serious injury that would hurt his value ahead of the league’s Feb. 9 trade deadline.

With the Lakers trying to contend for a playoff spot, they may need Westbrook to lead the bench unit even if they do plan on eventually trading him. It will be interesting to see what his final status ends up being for Saturday’s game.

The Lakers and Pelicans are scheduled to tip off at 3 p.m. PST on Saturday in New Orleans.

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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.