The Los Angeles Lakers will be making some major changes this offseason. Most people assume on of them will be parting ways with Russell Westbrook, but the star point guard is operating as if he is not going anywhere.
The Lakers were officially eliminated from playoff contention with their loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. Westbrook was asked after the game if he wants to return to Los Angeles next season, and he said he is planning on it.
“That’s the plan,” said, via Sam Quinn of CBS Sports. “But nothing is promised. You kind of have to take it one day at a time each day. Like I’ve said all season long, you’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt.”
Both Westbrook and Anthony Davis said Tuesday that they don’t feel the Lakers really got an opportunity to see what they could do if healthy. Both Davis and LeBron James missed several games with injuries. Of course, Westbrook also played poorly for much of the season. It’s hard to argue that his shooting would have improve if Davis and James were healthy.
Westbrook has a $47 million player option for next season. He is likely going to exercise it. Once he does, the Lakers will have to decide if they want to keep him or attempt to trade him. The latter will not be easy, as there isn’t a big market for a 33-year-old player who is earning nearly $50 million and coming off a bad season.
LeBron is the de-facto GM of the Lakers. If he wants the team to shake things up, that is what will happen. He’s probably not going to get an opportunity to play with the one player he wants to team up with. Still, the Lakers will do their best to grant his wishes.