The primary storylines for the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason are who their next head coach will be and what to do with Russell Westbrook.
The two things are reportedly linked as the Lakers have been asking candidates how they would utilize Westbrook should he remain on the roster for the 2022-23 season. It seems the front office is bracing itself for another year with Westbrook should a trade not materialize between now and the start of next season.
There are other options for getting rid of the guard such as waiving him or asking him to sit out the year, but it seems Los Angeles is not considering either path, via Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic:
The Russell Westbrook factor continues to loom large here. Candidates have been asked to discuss how they would use a roster that includes Westbrook, with Lakers officials operating under the belief he will be part of their program next season. Westbrook has a player option worth $47 million for the 2022-23 campaign.
As for the prospect of Westbrook being waived or sent home (a la Houston’s John Wall last season) if he is not traded, those are not considered viable options, and all indications are that he will play. With that in mind, the Lakers are focused on hiring a coach who is capable of navigating these types of sensitive situations.
There have been a few Westbrook deals floated among the media, but so far there has been no traction on any trades as teams gear up for the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft. So far, it has been reported the Lakers are reluctant to give up significant draft compensation to offload Westbrook though with how much he is owed the next year it would seem difficult to get any deal done without doing so.
Given how poorly L.A. finished the year, bringing back Westbrook should be a non-starter for the front office and it would be in everyone’s best interest if they moved on from him. It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out, but it still feels likely that Westbrook is not in Purple and Gold next season.
Lakers reportedly prefer to part ways with Russell Westbrook
Throughout the year, much of the discourse revolving around the Lakers concerned Westbrook’s poor fit with the team. He did not help himself either with some of the comments made in his exit interview, giving fans a glimpse into how toxic the situation had become.
For that reason, reports surfaced that L.A. would prefer to part ways with Westbrook in order to create a fresh start for everyone in the organization.
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