NBA insider: Lakers are ‘increasingly unlikely’ to trade Russell Westbrook

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Trade Rumors

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The Lakers are doing LeBron James and Anthony Davis wrong by not going all in and, according to an NBA insider, are unlikely to make the obvious move.

According to Sam Amick of The Atheltic, the Los Angeles Lakers are “unlikely” to trade Russell Westbrook before the deadline. As he goes into the report which I will highly recommend reading before reading this article; The Lakers are looking at three paths when it comes to trades this season.

One path is trading Westbrook and two first-round picks for a star. The second path is to trade the expiring contracts of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, and first/second-round picks for role players who can “upgrade” the team. Finally, the third path is would be to do both but use only second-round picks for the Beverly and Nunn deals.

It’s clear that the Lakers need to make trades and go all in even in light of Anthony Davis’ injury and extended absence. Based on expectations for him this season, Russell Westbrook is playing exceptionally well. He deserves to be applauded for adjusting to his new role off the bench and not just accepting his player option and giving in after all the unnecessary hate he has received from fans.

Still, at the percentage of the cap that he takes, he doesn’t contribute enough off the bench to make up for the role players the Lakers would be missing. Additionally, Patrick Beverley hasn’t been very good this season, regressing defensively.

Beverley also hasn’t been very good offensively, even by his own standards (which weren’t so great, to begin with, but fairly enough he was a defensive specialist), shooting a career-worst 33 percent from the field.

Lakers rumors: Unlikely Russell Westbrook trade is wasting LeBron James, Anthony Davis

LeBron James only has so many left years of prime play. Yes, James has regressed a bit but is still a player that can contend for titles if you surround him with the right talent.

Lebron is turning 38 years old and has only one year left on his contract (assuming he leaves to go with whatever team drafts his son, Bronny James, which he openly said he will), time is running out for the Lakers. The odds might not look great but LA should still go all in or just trade Davis after he gets healthy and move LeBron in the offseason as he cannot be traded at this moment.

The Lakers have an option for a Russell Westbrook trade. While Rob Pelinka may not be enthused about it, LA needs to offer Westbrook and two first-round picks (2027 and 2029) for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.

Yes, this trade alone doesn’t make you a title contender. If James and Davis are healthy (in LeBron’s case stay healthy and in AD’s case get healthy and stay healthy), a starting lineup of James, Hield, Reaves, AD, and Turner along with a rotation of Walker and Bryant is pretty good.

Add in the trade return (likely one or two rotational players) for Beverley, Nunn and two second-round picks, that’s a pretty good rotation, especially if they could add a player on the buyout market.

Let’s say that lands LA a solid backup wing or big. Is that the team the best in the Western Conference? No, not by a long shot. Do they have a chance to win the West? Yes. The Lakers have repeatedly rejected this option and it has been reported again and again.

Other realistic trade options include a possible trade with the Bulls if Chicago intends to blow up their current roster. And that’s still only two potential trade partners.

But what is the point of having LeBron James and Anthony Davis on your team if you don’t want to compete? Davis was having one of his best seasons prior to the recent injury. James is still a top-10 player in this league (though likely no longer top five). If the organization is holding onto those stars, then it’s senseless to not move to contend. Trading for Turner and Hield does that. Other trades could do that.

So while it might reportedly be unlikely for Russell Westbrook to be traded, it remains the Lakers’ best avenue to compete.

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