Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Eyes Bradley Beal for Russell Westbrook and NBA Draft Picks

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 19, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 02: Russell Westbrook attends The After at Casa Cipriani on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

The Los Angeles Lakers may be saying all the right things publicly, but they remain interested in trading Russell Westbrook.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer said the Lakers have explored a Westbrook-Bradley Beal deal.

"The one name that I've heard recently is Bradley Beal as another guy that they want. I'm not sure if the interest is as mutual. You know Beal, it seems like Miami would be more of the threat to take him away from Washington. I don't think you can also rule out Boston either because of his relationship with Jayson Tatum, but the Lakers are trying to angle for some moves like that using the Russ expiring and the '27 and the '29 firsts."

The Lakers are expected to explore trade talks for Westbrook this offseason even though they've been publicly committal about bringing him back next season. New Lakers coach Darvin Ham said Westbrook will "absolutely" be with the team next season at his introductory press conference.

"And Russell—don't get it messed up," Ham said. "Russ is one of the best players our league has ever seen and still has a ton left in that tank. I don't know why people tend to try to write him off. I'm going to approach him like I do every player I've ever encountered. We're going to talk about our running habits with the ball, without the ball. And, again, the team, the rhythm of the team and trying to establish a rhythm with LeBron, Russ and AD and, again, share the load defensively and offensively."

Westbrook is coming off a down 2021-22 season that saw him average 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists. He spent much of the season alone on an island with LeBron James and Anthony Davis dealing with injuries.

When Davis and James were on the floor, Westbrook's skill set proved to be an oil-water mix. He struggled in particular with James, with their propensity for needing the ball proving to be an awkward on-court mix.

The Lakers were arguably the NBA's most disappointing team, finishing 33-49 (11th in the West). Westbrook, 33, is under contract through the 2022-23 season and will make $47.1 million, which only further complicates any trade talks.