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Rumors Roundup: Lakers planning to keep Russell Westbrook next season

The Lakers are heading into an important offseason looking to potentially undo so much of what it did last offseason. As badly as the Russell Westbrook experience was in Los Angeles, one of the alternatives in DeMar DeRozan had a career year in Chicago.

Those two players are the main subjects of the latest reports and headlines.

Russell Westbrook to run it back in LA

While it’s not a new story, yet another report popped up about the Lakers intentions for Russell Westbrook next season. The tides continue to turn from early in the offseason as Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report reported that the franchise is putting out signs that Westbrook will be a Laker next season.

Will health and a coaching change be enough for the Los Angeles Lakers to rebound from a disastrous season? We may find out soon enough as sources close to the team, along with several competing executives, believe the Lakers are operating as if Russell Westbrook will be on the roster to start next season.

The biggest difference in Pincus’ reporting is that it’s including sources from outside the Lakers. Opposing teams are starting to believe the Lakers are keeping Westbrook, which is either solidifying their leverage or cementing their questionable decision.

Outside of that, none of this is different from the reporting that came out as recently as Sunday from Kyle Goon of the OC Register. The Lakers are making their intentions pretty clear and now it’s a waiting game to understand the end game of those intentions.

LeBron James really wanted DeMar DeRozan

There’s been nothing sillier in the wake of last season than watching the Lakers and Klutch Sports blame the other for the Russell Westbrook situation. At the time the deal went down, everyone was gung-ho about it and taking joint credit.

Now, no one wants any part of it. The latest example comes from the newest podcast episode of “Naked with Cari Champion” in which she spoke about running into LeBron last offseason.

In fairness, LeBron and Klutch probably didn’t specifically tell anyone to put this story back out there. But it doesn’t change the general point that both sides have made sure they had outs in place to absolve themselves of blame.

The front office has blamed the pressure from Klutch as the reason the deal was done. Klutch has repeatedly mentioned DeMar DeRozan as someone they had an eye on. It’s a silly game in which both sides are at fault and finger-pointing doesn’t fix that.

One less Westbrook trade suitor?

On Monday, the Thunder traded for JaMychal Green, using their cap space to do so with draft picks being swapped as well. How does this relate to the Lakers?

Well Oklahoma City was an intriguing trade option for the Lakers because of their huge amount of cap space that could potentially absorb Westbrook’s contract without needing to send out matching contracts. It would have given the Lakers a lot more cap space and a really big trade exception. But this trade for Green means there isn’t enough cap space to do that trade anymore.

Technically, there is a small window the Thunder could aggregate Green’s contract in a trade but given all the signs the Lakers have put out — literally the first section of this roundup — it’s unlikely they are really prepared to move quickly.

OKC was always more of a theoretical trade destination and not one that had really been mentioned in rumors but this pretty much seals that any trade the Lakers make for Russ will see them take back hefty contracts.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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