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Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Signs with Agent Jeff Schwartz amid Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 1, 2022

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook signed with Excel Sports' Jeff Schwartz for his representation moving forward, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

This comes after Westbrook and former agent Thad Foucher went their separate ways. While an NBA player changing agents is fairly common, Foucher issued a statement to Wojnarowski that cited "irreconcilable differences" and referenced Westbrook's uncertain future with the Lakers:

"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."

For now, Westbrook remains a member of the Lakers, who have pursued multiple trade routes involving the nine-time All-Star.

HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reported on July 12 that Los Angeles wasn't prepared to attach multiple first-round picks to Westbrook in a deal.

NBA insider Marc Stein also reported the Lakers' pursuit of Kyrie Irving is on hold because the Brooklyn Nets want to resolve Kevin Durant's situation and prefer to have another team absorb Westbrook's $47.1 million player option.

The Athletic's Bob Kravitz added on July 22 that a trade with the Indiana Pacers that would send the 33-year-old out "is currently dead."

As a result, Westbrook and the Lakers might have to spend one more season together, and Foucher's statement raised questions over whether the 6'3" guard will be willing to adapt to a new role with the team.

"Furthermore, Foucher hinted at Westbrook’s lack of self-awareness regarding his situation," Jovan Buha of The Athletic wrote. "Westbrook hasn’t accepted that his prime is behind him and the limitations in his game make it difficult for him to be a part of a team that has higher aspirations than losing in the first round of the playoffs."

Now, fans are left to wonder whether the hiring of Schwartz will alter the situation at all and potentially expedite Westbrook's exit from L.A. through a trade or outright buyout.

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