The Los Angeles Lakers have been predicted to trade a superstar “at some point soon.”

In a September 22nd piece called “Lakers Bold Predictions Ahead of 2022-23 NBA Season,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley predicted that Russell Westbrook wouldn’t open the new year in Los Angeles.

“It’s possible the Lakers honestly believe this can still work, but what is there to see? Westbrook isn’t a good fit for the roster. His ball dominance doesn’t work alongside LeBron James, and his erratic shooting hurts everyone around him,” Buckley wrote. “It seems more likely L.A. is leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to shed the nine-time All-Star (and his $47.1 million salary, per Spotrac) without sacrificing both of the future first-round picks it’s allowed to trade. At some point soon, the Lakers will concede that just isn’t possible and will package those picks with Westbrook to get him out and bring in a contributor or two who actually fit this group.”

According to a September 7th report from Ric Bucher of Fox Sports, the Lakers “have made it readily known” that Westbrook is available for trade. Los Angeles has been trying to trade the point guard all offseason.

Bob Kravitz and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on July 22nd that a trade package that would have seen the Lakers trade Westbrook and a first-rounder to the Indiana Pacers in return for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield didn’t gain traction since Indiana asked Los Angeles to include a second first-round pick.

Meanwhile, according to a September 16th report from Sam Amick and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers discussed a four-team trade with the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets involving Westbrook before the Jazz traded Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Los Angeles would have acquired Terry Rozier from Charlotte and Bojan Bogdanovic from Utah.


Buckley: Westbrook Isn’t a Good Fit for the Lakers

Buckley doesn’t believe Westbrook is a good fit for the Lakers, who missed the playoffs last season. The one-time MVP was second in the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage in 2021-22.

“It’s possible the Lakers honestly believe this can still work, but what is there to see? Westbrook isn’t a good fit for the roster,” Buckley wrote. “His ball dominance doesn’t work alongside LeBron James, and his erratic shooting hurts everyone around him.”

Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 78 starts last season, which are solid numbers. However, the nine-time All-Star ranked 42nd in true shooting percentage and had a plus-minus of -211.

Thus far, the Lakers’ refusal to offer their future draft picks has prevented them from trading Westbrook, who will make $47.1 million next season in the final year of his contract. However, Buckley thinks Los Angeles will budge soon.


Westbrook ‘Open’ to Getting Traded

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Westbrook is “very open” to getting dealt by the Lakers despite not formally requesting a trade. The UCLA product would prefer to play for a team that will “empower” him.

One NBA executive who spoke to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report in August believed the Lakers had three remaining “obvious” partners they could pursue to make a Westbrook trade happen. The anonymous exec listed the Pacers, Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.

According to a September 18th report from LJ Ellis of SpursTalk, the Spurs remain one of the few teams in the NBA open to absorbing Westbrook’s expiring contract.

The Lakers, who replaced Frank Vogel with Darvin Ham, acquired Patrick Beverley from the Jazz and signed Dennis Schroder in free agency this summer. They also have Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV on the roster, creating a possible logjam at the guard position if Westbrook isn’t traded.

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