Lakers Rumors: LeBron James 'Likely' to Host Minicamp; Russell Westbrook Would Attend

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 5, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, passes to guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Los Angeles Lakers feel as much like a reality show as a basketball team heading into the 2022-23 season, given the questions that surround the roster.

Can Russell Westbrook fit in with LeBron James and Anthony Davis after a disastrous first season together? What about Westbrook and Patrick Beverley, who have publicly feuded in the past?

A player gathering before the season might help to ease some tensions. As NBA reporter Marc Stein reported Monday: "James typically hosts a players-only minicamp somewhere on the West Coast before training camp starts, so stay tuned. Word is that another Lakers minicamp is likely in coming days and that Westbrook would indeed attend if it comes together."

Beverley hinted on social media that he's willing to let bygones be bygones and move past his long-standing rift with Westbrook:

LeBron James @KingJames

Can't wait for him to go off this season!! 🤫

Patrick Beverley @patbev21

Same it’s on🦍 <a href="https://t.co/jR5ZFaMYMV">https://t.co/jR5ZFaMYMV</a>

But players-only meetings and online olive branches won't change the fact that Westbrook is a poor fit for the superstar duo of LeBron and AD. He's a ball-dominant point guard who doesn't offer much in the way of perimeter shooting or consistent on-ball defense.

James, meanwhile, has thrived when he's allowed to run the offense and has plenty of shooters around him to space the floor.

Westbrook didn't help either cause, shooting 29.8 percent from three. The Lakers had a net rating of minus-4.0 with him on the court that improved to minus-1.6 when he sat, per NBA.com.

While the team had issues that ran deeper than Westbrook, his poor fit was a major contributor to L.A.'s 33-49 record.

The Lakers have abstained from trading him, reportedly unenthusiastic about the prospect of giving up a future first-round pick—or multiple—to move on from Westbrook and his gargantuan $47 million salary for the upcoming season.

Given Westbrook's struggles last season, contending teams don't appear to be in the market for him, limiting the options to rebuilding teams willing to absorb his large contract in exchange for role players who would help the Lakers. Such teams smartly will seek draft compensation for such a move, however.

For the time being, the soap opera continues. Keep your popcorn at the ready.