Russell Westbrook Rumors: Lakers Trade Not Requested Despite Ex-Agent's Statement

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 16, 2022

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Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times reported Friday that sources have said veteran guard Russell Westbrook never requested a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers.

The report is in response to comments made by Westbrook's former agent, Thad Foucher, after it was announced Friday that they had parted ways after 14 years together.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Foucher released the following statement on the dissolution of his relationship with Westbrook:

"Now, with a possibility of a fourth trade in four years, the marketplace is telling the Lakers they must add additional value with Russell in any trade scenario. And even then, such a trade may require Russell to immediately move on from the new team via buyout.

"My belief is that this type of transaction only serves to diminish Russell's value and his best option is to stay with the Lakers, embrace the starting role and support that Darvin Ham publicly offered. Russell is a first-ballot Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame player and will prove that again before he is retired. Unfortunately, irreconcilable differences exist as to his best pathway forward and we are no longer working together. I wish Russell and his family the very best."

The statement led to speculation that Westbrook had asked the Lakers to trade him since Foucher expressed his belief that Westbrook should remain with the Lakers before saying he and Westbrook had "irreconcilable differences" regarding their view of his future.

L.A. acquired Westbrook from the Washington Wizards last offseason for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in hopes of him being a third star to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Things didn't go according to plan for the Lakers, though, as James and Davis missed time because of injury and Westbrook largely struggled, leading to a 33-49 finish that left them out of the playoffs.

The 33-year-old Westbrook's numbers last season weren't horrible on the surface, as he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists, but he shot just 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc, plus he turned the ball over 3.8 times per game.

It was also a far cry from his usual production, as the scoring average was his worst since the 2009-10 season, and he didn't come close to averaging a triple-double, which is a feat he accomplished in four of five seasons from 2016 to 2021.

Even in his only season with the Wizards, Westbrook had huge stats, averaging 22.2 points and a career-high 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Westbrook simply wasn't a good fit with the Lakers last season since he struggled as an outside shooter and played on a team that was devoid of consistent production from the outside.

Even if the Lakers and Westbrook would like to part ways, making it happen will be difficult since Westbrook is set to earn over $47 million next season in the final year of his contract.

Given the disparity between his play and salary, Westbrook is essentially a negative trade asset, meaning the Lakers would perhaps have to part with draft compensation in order to get a team to take him.

One possible fit that has been theorized is trading Westbrook and draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets for Kyrie Irving and salary filler.

There seemingly hasn't been any movement on that front, but ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst said last week that he believes a trade centered on Irving and Westbrook will happen "eventually."

If nothing comes of those rumors, however, the Lakers will likely have to make things work with Westbrook in 2022-23, and the best way to make that happen would be for LeBron and AD to largely remain off the injured list.


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