National Basketball Association

Are Lakers, Russell Westbrook stuck with each other in 2022?

May 31

Russell Westbrook will likely be a Los Angeles Laker next season. 

After the L.A. native's name was included in a number of trade rumors at the start of the offseason in April, Westbrook is now expected to remain with the squad for the time being.

The main reason: The teams who have discussed a potential swap with L.A. are requesting a first-round draft pick in addition to Westbrook's services, which will cost them $41 million.

First-round picks aren't a commodity the Lakers have a surplus of, and they are not willing to part with one, per NBA reporter Marc Stein. 

In fact, 2026 is the next year the team owns its first-round selection outright (New Orleans has selective power over its previous selections following the Anthony Davis deal), and shelling out another valuable asset alongside Westbrook isn't something L.A. feels comfortable doing.

Thus, Westbrook is slated to remain in Tinseltown as the 2022-23 campaign approaches.

This is far from ideal, according to Chris Broussard. In his mind, offloading a few picks alongside Westbrook is necessary.

"They should be willing to give up those picks to trade Westbrook," Broussard stated Tuesday on "First Things First." "When you have LeBron James, and he's playing at a high level, you owe it to yourself to try to win a championship. Westbrook's simply not a fit, period, and I don't think a new coach is going to change that. They were 11-10 last year when the ‘Big 3’ played together. They were 20-32 when Russ played with either one of those two. His game doesn't match up with LeBron and Anthony Davis. 

"When they're all out there, you're going to have a problem with floor spacing, 3-point shooting and defense." 

Nick Wright views shipping out Westbrook as a necessary requisite to turn the tide for L.A. as well. And if that's not possible, the next best thing according to Wright is trading James.

"How much do you owe LeBron James?" he questioned. "What has he done to earn the right to compete for a title in his 20th season? Here's a short list of what he's done since joining the Lakers. In that bubble season, he helped keep the team together after the passing of Kobe Bryant and kept the entire season together in the bubble, and then averaged 30, 12 and nine in the Finals. Last year, he averaged 30, eight and six. 

"If you don't think you can compete for a title immediately, then trade him. If you're that concerned about a 2027 draft pick that you're going to waste one of LeBron's MVP-caliber years, then move on from him."

Kevin Wildes, though, sees a pathway for Westbrook to successfully integrate himself into the Lakers' regime.

"Why doesn't Russ just look in the mirror and play better?" he asked. "Here are three simple things he can do to get better today. Stop shooting 3s. He shoots 30% from 3. Get to the rim, get fouled and make your free throws. Five years ago, Westbrook shot 85% from the line. Last year, he shot 67%. And the third is defense. He doesn't have to become Alex Caruso, just pay attention to your man and don't leave him open.

Russell Westbrook expected to stay with Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly unwilling to surrender additional assets to trade Russell Westbrook, meaning he will remain on the team another season. Chris Broussard explores why that decision is a mistake on the Lakers' part.

For Skip Bayless, the best option is simply cutting Westbrook.

"You'd be better off without him," he said on "Undisputed." "Just clear the deck, and get rid of the issue."

Shannon Sharpe doesn't see a way for the team to mesh into a winner, despite the presence of a new coach.

"I don't see how Darvin Ham is going to make this work," he declared. "No other coach has made it work. Hell, he's had four different head coaches. A lot of people are so concerned with stats, they don't care about winning. What have those triple-doubles equated to? 

"Russ has won one playoff series since Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City. Russ thought nothing he was doing was wrong. He's stubborn, doesn't win and doesn't have a good basketball IQ. Period."

Will Darvin Ham make Russell Westbrook-Lakers work?

The reports keep coming in on Russell Westbrook’s future with the Los Angeles Lakers. The latest this week is that L.A. plans on keeping Westbrook because of the extra assets it would take to trade him. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe discuss whether Ham can make it work with Westbrook.

In 78 games this past season, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.

He shot below 70% from the charity stripe for just the third time in his career, and had his third-lowest assist percentage (31.6), USG (27.3), and FTr (.324). He also had the lowest PER (15) offensive win shares (-0.6), VORP (0.2) and steal percentage (1.3) of his career.


Get more from National Basketball Association Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more


share