The Los Angeles Lakers added some point guard depth this offseason by trading for Patrick Beverley and signing Dennis Schröder. However, the new arrivals are not expected to unseat Russell Westbrook from his starting role.
"From what I understand now, they still see Russell Westbrook as a starter," ESPN's Ramona Shelburne said on Monday's episode of NBA Today. "He's a former MVP. He's given that respect."
The Lakers signed Schröder to a one-year deal reportedly worth $2.6 million on Friday. It's his second stint with the team after he played 61 games for Los Angeles during the 2020-21 season and averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists.
There's a chance Schröder gets to start at shooting guard alongside Westbrook, with the veteran Beverley coming off the bench. The Lakers are also expected to have 27-year-old Kendrick Nunn back after he missed the entire 2021-22 season with a knee injury.
Westbrook's role came into question after a disappointing first season in Los Angeles. In 78 games last year, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from three-point range.
There were obvious on-court chemistry issues with fellow Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as both of them missed significant chunks of the season and didn't have enough time to build a rapport with their new point guard.
Los Angeles finished with a 33-49 record and failed to even qualify for the play-in tournament. Head coach Frank Vogel was fired and replaced by former Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham.
While there had been some speculation that Westbrook would be traded this offseason, Ham has maintained that he is looking forward to coaching the 33-year-old.
"I want to help him get that championship ring. … I love him and I can't wait to coach him," Ham said of Westbrook this month.
The Lakers will begin their season on Oct. 18 against the Golden State Warriors.