Lakers' Russell Westbrook Says He's Going to 'Focus on Competing' amid Trade Rumors

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 4, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 3: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball against the Sacramento Kings during a preseason game on October 3, 2022 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook will try to block out the distractions as he focuses on the upcoming season.

"All summer, my whole life, I've been hearing the stories about myself," Westbrook said Monday, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. "That's not going to change today. So, nothing new for me. I'm going to continue to keep my head down, focus on competing. And everything else will take care of itself."

Westbrook's name has been mentioned in trades throughout the offseason, but the front office has reportedly been "engaged in deep conversations" as of late about a deal that would send him to the Indiana Pacers, per Shams Charania, Sam Amick, Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

A potential trade could bring back Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, strengthening the Lakers lineup after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign. The squad has already added alternatives at point guard in Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder.

Despite the ongoing trade discussions, the Lakers are currently acting as if Westbrook will remain with the team.

The guard started and played 15 minutes in the team's first preseason game Monday, scoring five points before exiting at halftime along with fellow veterans LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

New head coach Darvin Ham is also preparing for Westbrook to be there at the start of the regular season.

"He's ours, and we love him and we want him to do well," Ham said of Westbrook. "Like I said, I have a plan for him. That plan included him when they gave me the job. So it's been a great camp for him. He's played well."