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#pounditTuesday, December 6, 2022

Report reveals where Lakers stand with Russell Westbrook

Nov 23, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook was the subject of trade rumors all summer, but he remains with the Los Angeles Lakers as they prepare for their first preseason game on Monday night. There is still a chance the star point guard could be moved, however. The Lakers reportedly had serious discussions with one team as recently as last week.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Lakers “spent several days engaged in deep conversations” with the Indiana Pacers about a potential Westbrook trade. The conversations took place leading up to the start of training camp, which was last Tuesday. General manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Buss and top advisor Kurt Rambis are said to have strongly considered a deal that would have sent Westbrook and L.A.’s 2027 and 2029 unprotected first-round picks to Indiana in exchange for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.

Pelinka has final say over roster decisions, but he did not want to make any moves without full consensus from the Lakers’ front office. He did not have full consensus. Sources told The Athletic that there have been questions internally in L.A. about whether the team should unload their only two remaining unprotected first-round picks for the next decade if it is not a certainty that their roster will improve.

Most people believe LeBron James has influence over the moves the Lakers make. For what it’s worth, he reportedly did not push them to make the deal with the Pacers.

For now, the Lakers are content to wait and see how Westbrook looks in his second year with the team. Darvin Ham has repeatedly said he is excited to work with Westbrook. Some with the Lakers — including Buss — feel the new head coach could unlock Westbrook’s potential.

To summarize, the Lakers are still very much open to trading Westbrook. They simply prefer to wait and see how their current team looks, barring an offer that blows them away. If Westbrook’s play improves after his disastrous first season in L.A., that could both increase his trade value and give the Lakers hope that they actually can be a playoff contender with him on the roster.

Westbrook insists he is not concerned with trade rumors. He recently made a strong statement about his future with the Lakers.

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