Russell Westbrook Removes Lakers Pictures from Instagram Amid Trade, Release Rumors

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 27, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook wiped his Instagram account amid speculation about his NBA future after a forgettable first season in L.A.

Eric Eulau of SI.com's All Lakers reported Tuesday that Westbrook initially removed the Lakers-related content from his IG page. He's since deleted all of the content.

It's worth noting Westbrook's profile picture is still a characterized version of himself in a Lakers jersey.

The 2016-17 NBA MVP failed to find a comfort zone within the ever-changing L.A. rotation, and his struggles were a major reason the star-studded squad failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Westbrook was tied for 230th out of 250 qualified players in FiveThirtyEight's WAR metric because he made a negative impact at both ends of the floor.

The Lakers figure to undergo a significant roster overhaul for the second straight summer because of the disappointing campaign. What happens with the nine-time All-Star is one of the biggest questions that they'll need to answer, assuming his picks up his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season as expected.

While Los Angeles would likely prefer a trade, moving Westbrook and his $47.4 million salary may be impossible. In turn, Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported in March that the team might end up using the stretch provision to release the 33-year-old UCLA product while spreading out his salary over multiple seasons.

"You'll at least be able to patch something together," a source told Fischer. "It might actually be their best move and puts some pieces around LeBron."

Regardless of how Westbrook's departure happens, the only surprise would be if he's still on the Lakers when next season gets underway.