The Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling this season and currently being in ninth place in the Western Conference. Despite being given the chance in the trade deadline, Rob Pelinka did not make a move on shuffling the team. Perhaps, Pelinka also regretted the decision.
With the team’s declining reputation, the Lakers are struggling to take a seat in the playoffs season, especially LeBron James who has been a consistent presence in the team, along with Anthony Davis who is currently recovering from an injury.
Though it is not fair to accuse one of losing the game, in this case, Westbrook might make a contribution to that. While he has been labeled by the media as the problem, it doesn’t all fall on him.
Westbrook, Lakers relationship
Given Westbrook’s poor performance throughout the season, the two-time NBA All-Star MVP also believed that the team could have done better.
“I think each play we get down on ourselves too much and just not playing as hard as we can,” said the California-born player, who finished the game night against the Pelicans losing 95-123 games with 16 points, one assist, and seven turnovers.
To the point where home crowds booed him after missing a shot and even discouraging him to take another one in a game against the Knicks, he is still averaging 18.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game, shooting 43.2% from the field. Perhaps, the problem was just there was no chemistry between the teammates.
Now, reports are saying that both Lakers management and Westbrook are finding a way to end the cooperation.
Report: Lakers and Russell Westbrook have 'mutual interest' in finding him a new home this offseason https://t.co/5KBVqHBV3F
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 2, 2022
Westbrook wants out
On Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers dropped to their record of 27-34 in the conference. The inconsistent performance was shown in this game, Westbrook was no exception.
The nine-time NBA All-Star joined the Lakers in 2021 with a five-year contract. No one has expected that the season would turn badly for the former Oklahoma City Thunder player.
Luckily, the Lakers see a chance that they could move Westbrook in the summer. Apparently, the former Houston Rockers might want out even more than the Lakers want him out.
Though there are still no official statements from Westbrook, it has been reported by several NBA insiders about the mutual interest, including Jake Fischer, a reporter, who stated “In any case, there is mutual interest in finding Westbrook a new home this summer, sources said.”
“League observers have pointed to this offseason as a greater opportunity for the Lakers to shed Westbrook’s contract when they will be eligible to move their 2029 first-round pick,” Fischer stated.
Then, Tim Bontemps of ESPN claimed this idea as “crazy”, but possible. He thinks that with the shuffle, the Lakers might still have a chance to find decent contenders by the summer.
“If they turn Russell Westbrook and his massive expiring contract…if they basically do in reverse what they did last summer and get a few decent players for Westbrook’s expiring contract and toss in some sort of incentive to do that.”
“They can probably do that without nuking their cap space, and then have a chance to win, because if they just put three or four decent players around those guys [LeBron and Davis] they’re back to the team they were a couple years ago which was the one-seed.”