Russell Westbrook’s Historic Contract Decision: Lakers’ Trade Interest Prevails Amidst $47.1 Million Opt-Out

The Russell Westbrook Saga: Lakers’ Struggles and Trade Rumors


In a predictable move, Russell Westbrook has exercised his player option with the Los Angeles Lakers for the upcoming season, worth a staggering $47.1 million. However, finding a trading partner for Westbrook has proven to be a challenging task for the Lakers, with few teams willing to accommodate their needs.

The Westbrook Contract and Journey

Back in 2018, Westbrook signed a lucrative five-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, amounting to a whopping $206 million. The contract included a player option for the 2022-23 season, which he has opted to exercise. Throughout the contract’s duration, Westbrook has been on the move, playing for four different teams due to various trades. He was initially traded to the Houston Rockets in 2019, then to the Washington Wizards in 2020, and finally found himself with the Los Angeles Lakers last summer.

The Lakers’ Dim Prospects

Both oddsmakers and bettors are skeptical of the Lakers’ chances in the upcoming season. With odds set at +2200 to win the 2023 NBA championship, the Lakers currently find themselves overshadowed by teams like the Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and the revitalized Denver Nuggets.

Underwhelming Results with Westbrook

The acquisition of Westbrook last summer by the Lakers left many skeptics unconvinced. It was clear to most observers that Westbrook’s playing style would not harmonize well with LeBron James and the Lakers’ system. Despite hoping to influence Westbrook’s game, LeBron quickly realized that the pairing was an ill-fated experiment. While LeBron earned the nickname “LeGM” during his tenure with the Cavaliers for his ability to shape the team, his magic failed to replicate with the Lakers.

Trading Westbrook: Limited Options

Once the Westbrook addition proved to be problematic, the Lakers found themselves in a predicament. They had limited trade options, having already leveraged their future by acquiring him. Furthermore, the team lacked the necessary assets, specifically veteran players on favorable contracts, to facilitate a trade. General manager Rob Pelinka faced significant criticism from Lakers fans, even though he was left with few viable choices.

The Downfall of the Lakers

The Lakers’ struggles persisted with Westbrook’s lackluster defense and shooting woes weighing them down. Fans resorted to mocking Westbrook with the moniker “Westbrick,” further exacerbating his performance on the court. The team also suffered from injuries to their star players, with LeBron missing a quarter of the season and Davis being sidelined for half of it due to knee and ankle issues. When LeBron and Davis played alongside Westbrook, they only managed a record of 10 wins and 11 losses. In games where Westbrook played with either LeBron or Davis, the Lakers’ record dropped to a dismal 20 wins and 32 losses.

Rumors Surrounding Westbrook’s Future

With the Lakers’ decision to part ways with head coach Frank Vogel, the newly appointed coach, Darvin Ham, now faces the grueling task of aligning the trio of LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook. Despite the clashes between Westbrook and Vogel, bringing in fresh leadership offers hope for a better dynamic. If the Lakers fail to trade Westbrook during the offseason, they may need to wait until the trade deadline in early 2023. Westbrook’s expiring contract could be enticing for struggling teams seeking a salary dump, opening up potential trade opportunities.

Potential Trade Destinations

While initial rumors linked Westbrook to the Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers, those discussions did not materialize into serious trade talks. However, a recent rumor suggests a potential trade between the Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets involving Westbrook and Kyrie Irving. This scenario poses challenges for both teams, as Irving has yet to secure a contract extension with the Nets. Although Irving has opted in for the current season, nullifying sign-and-trade possibilities, the Lakers might still hold a glimmer of hope if the Nets decide to trade Irving.


The Russell Westbrook saga continues to captivate NBA fans as the superstar’s future with the Los Angeles Lakers remains uncertain. The team faces an uphill battle in trading Westbrook, considering his hefty contract and the limited interest from other organizations. As the Lakers regroup under new leadership, they must navigate the complex dynamics and find a solution that ensures team success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Will the Lakers be able to trade Russell Westbrook?

While trading Russell Westbrook presents a significant challenge for the Lakers, given his contract and the limited market interest, they may have to wait until the trade deadline in early 2023 for potential opportunities.

2. Why did the Lakers acquire Westbrook if it seemed like a poor fit?

The Lakers sought to bolster their roster by adding Westbrook as a point guard and third scoring option. However, the fit presented unforeseen challenges, and the Lakers faced difficulties addressing the issues after leveraging their future assets.

3. Are the Lakers still competitive despite their struggles?

The Lakers face stiff competition in a highly competitive Western Conference. While they possess star power with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, their struggles and lack of cohesion with Westbrook have diminished their status as a top-tier title contender.

4. Which teams have expressed interest in trading for Russell Westbrook?

While initial trade rumors surfaced involving the Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers, no substantial trade discussions materialized. However, reports have suggested the possibility of a trade between the Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets involving Westbrook and Kyrie Irving, although the complexities surrounding Irving’s contract pose challenges.

5. Will Russell Westbrook’s trade value increase or decrease throughout the season?

The dynamics of trade value can vary depending on performance, team needs, and the overall market landscape. Westbrook’s expiring contract could make him an attractive asset for struggling teams looking to shed salary. However, his performance and fit within the Lakers’ system will heavily influence his trade value moving forward.

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