Posts Tagged ‘Russell Westbrook’

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers have begun discussing a potential trade involving star guards Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, sources told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

The two teams are hopeful they can complete a deal at some point during the offseason, Haynes adds.

Irving recently picked up his $36.5-million player option to remain in Brooklyn, despite reports that he debated bypassing the deal to become a free agent. The Lakers were one of the teams that reportedly had an interest in the seven-time All-Star.

When on the floor, Irving has proven to be one of the most dynamic players in the league. However, the 30-year-old has suited up in just 103 games over the last three seasons.

In addition to Irving, the Nets are reportedly looking to add wing Joe Harris and his two-year, $38.6-million contract into a trade.

Meanwhile, Westbrook also opted into a player option this offseason, selecting to remain with the Lakers next year on a $47-million contract. The former MVP had an up-and-down first campaign in Los Angeles, putting his fit alongside fellow stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis in question.

Potential trade partners for Russell Westbrook are driving a hard bargain in negotiations.

Teams are demanding at least one future first-round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers in order to assume the remaining $47 million on Westbrook’s contract if he exercises his player option for next season, sources told The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.

However, the Lakers have reportedly ruled out the notion of sacrificing a first-rounder to offload the massive deal.

It’s unclear which clubs recently discussed acquiring Westbrook, though it isn’t the first time the Lakers have apparently contemplated the inclusion of draft picks in a potential trade. During reported negotiations with the Rockets in January, Houston apparently would have swapped John Wall for Westbrook if Los Angeles tossed in their 2027 first-rounder.

Some members of the Lakers’ organization are reportedly open to bringing back the former MVP next season, believing they can remedy his struggles with a new coach and retooled roster.

Westbrook, 33, fell short of expectations in his debut season with the Lakers after they parted with Kyle KuzmaMontrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to acquire him from the Washington Wizards in a draft-day multi-team swap last year.

The nine-time All-Star put up 18.5 points per game – his worst mark since his sophomore year – along with 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game as Los Angeles went 33-49 and missed the playoffs. After the season, Westbrook remarked he was “never given a fair chance” in L.A. and said it “wasn’t true” that he could play like his usual self with James and Davis.

Westbrook also admitted he didn’t fully get along with former head coach Frank Vogel, who began benching the guard for extended fourth-quarter minutes midway through the season. The Lakers fired Vogel on April 11 – a day after the end of their season – reportedly due in part to Westbrook’s unsuccessful integration into the roster.

There were high expectations for Russell Westbrook’s first campaign with the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers, but both he and the team failed to live up to the hype placed upon them.

The nine-time All-Star spoke out on his year in Los Angeles, reflecting on a season in which he averaged 18.5 points per game – his lowest total since 2009-10 – and that saw the Lakers miss the playoffs entirely with a 33-49 record.

“I just felt like I was never given a fair chance to be who I needed to be to help this team,” Westbrook told reporters, including The Orange County Register’s Kyle Goon.

Westbrook had been accustomed to playing a high-usage role offensively throughout the prime of his career but gave up touches to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Much like his point total, his usage rate was his lowest since his sophomore season.

James and Davis supported Westbrook to the media throughout the campaign and suggested they’d “let Russ be Russ,” but the point guard didn’t believe his teammates’ encouragement, adding that it “wasn’t true.”

With Westbrook playing off the ball more frequently alongside James’ ball-dominant style, the 33-year-old was relegated to shooting more jumpers but hit just under 30% of his 3-pointers on the year. As teams began to sag off of him, hurting the spacing on the court, head coach Frank Vogel cut his minutes, leading to a clear disconnect between the bench boss and Westbrook that the guard didn’t deny.

“I’ve never had an issue with any of my coaches before,” Westbrook said. “I’m not sure what his issue was with me.”

All told, Westbrook could pick up his $47 million player option and come back to L.A. next season, which he was non-committal about in his press conference. Westbrook won’t be playing for the recently fired Vogel if he does choose to return.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook shed light on the harassment he and his family have experienced this season. In particular, Westbrook said he supports his wife, who in a recent Twitter thread mentioned her family has received “death wishes.”

“Right now, she’s reached a point, and my family has reached a point to where it’s really weighing on them, and it’s very unfortunate just for me, personally, because this is just a game. This is just a game. This is not end-all, be-all,” Westbrook said following the Lakers’ 117-110 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, courtesy of Spectrum SportsNet. “When it comes to basketball, I don’t mind the criticism of missing and making shots. But the moment it becomes where my name is getting shamed, it becomes an issue.”

Westbrook went on to highlight a recent parent-teacher interview at his son’s school that opened his eyes to the importance of protecting his family name.

“Honestly, me and my wife were at a parent-teacher conference for my son. And the teacher told me, she’s like, ‘Noah is so proud of his last name. He writes it everywhere. He writes it on everything. He tells everybody, walks around, and says ‘I’m Westbrook, Westbrook.” That’s his last name.

“And I kinda sat there in shock, and it hit me like, damn, I can no longer allow people – for example, ‘Westbrick’ to me now is shaming. Like, it’s shaming my name, my legacy for my kids. It’s a name that means more, not just to me, but to my wife, to my mom, my dad, the ones that kinda paved the way for me. And that’s just one example.”

Westbrook addressed criticism directed his way head-on during Tuesday’s loss. He jawed with a spectator at AT&T Center and told the individual, “don’t disrespect my name.”

The 33-year-old also mentioned his family no longer enjoys attending games as a result.

“It’s very unfortunate. It’s been like this for my entire career. I’ve been blessed, man, and super thankful for the ones around me and the ones that support me,” Westbrook added. “But it’s really the shaming of my name, the shaming of my character, the shaming of who I am as a person, to me is not warranted. I haven’t done anything to anyone. I haven’t hurt anyone. I haven’t done anything but play basketball a way that people may not like.”

Westbrook, who’s the team’s highest-paid player with a $44-million salary, is averaging 18.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists in 63 games.

Los Angeles (28-36) currently sits ninth in the Western Conference with 18 games remaining.

Russell Westbrook knows the Los Angeles Lakers‘ season hasn’t gone according to plan in 2021-22, but the guard isn’t giving up hope on both his play and the team’s fortunes turning around.

“My role and what I’m doing has changed every single night. So I’m just trying to figure that out as I’m playing and to be able to benefit and help my team,” Westbrook told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk following the Lakers’ fourth-straight loss, a 132-111 drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

“But my expectations are still the same. I’m not a quitter. It’s not in my genes. I don’t quit, regardless of what the hell is going on,” Westbrook continued. “I’m going to fight to the end, and if it don’t work, that’s cool, too. I can live with the results. But I’m never going to give up or give in because of a little struggle that’s happening this time of the year.”

Westbrook is in the midst of his worst offensive season in more than a decade. The nine-time All-Star is averaging 18.1 points, his lowest mark since the 2009-10 campaign, while his 7.3 assists per game pale in comparison to the league-leading 11.7 dimes he averaged last season. His effective field-goal percentage of 46.3% is his lowest since 2014-15.

Head coach Frank Vogel has also benched Westbrook multiple times in the fourth quarter this season, something the 33-year-old has publicly voiced his displeasure about.

Vogel acknowledged the team has “talked about everything” when asked whether he’s considered bringing Westbrook off the bench given his disappointing production as a starter.

Los Angeles is running out of time to mount a late-season push. The Lakers (27-35) sit ninth in the Western Conference with 20 regular-season games remaining.

The Houston Rockets would be open to acquiring Russell Westbrook if the Los Angeles Lakers receive John Wall in return and incentivize the trade with “sufficient draft compensation,” sources told NBA insider Marc Stein.

Houston is seeking the Lakers’ 2027 first-round draft pick, Stein adds. The Rockets reportedly aren’t interested in Westbrook suiting up for another stint after the star guard joined the team for the 2019-20 season.

The potential blockbuster deal is unlikely to occur before next month’s trade deadline, Stein notes.

Westbrook and Wall were traded for one another in December 2020. Both players earn roughly the same salary this season and hold a player option for 2022-23.

Westbrook has struggled throughout his first year in Los Angeles. The former MVP is averaging 18.5 points, eight boards, 7.8 assists, and 1.1 steals over 45 appearances this season. He’s second in the Association in turnovers (4.2 per game) and shooting only 30.4% from deep.

Wall hasn’t played during the 2021-22 campaign as the Rockets reportedly canvassed the trade market for a suitor. The veteran guard was apparently interested in re-joining the team’s active roster as a starter, but Houston wanted him to come off the bench.

Wall averaged 20.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 1.1 steals across 40 appearances in 2020-21.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook believes that averaging a triple-double in his previous campaign has placed unrealistic expectations on his play.

“Honestly, I think I’ve been fine,” Westbrook told reporters Monday, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “The conversation has been heavily on how I’m playing and what I’m doing, but I think people are expecting me to have fucking 25, 15, and 15, which, that is not normal. Everybody has to understand, like, that’s not a normal thing that people do consistently.”

Westbrook is coming off a 4-of-20 outing on Christmas Day against the Brooklyn Nets. It was the 40th time in his career that he shot 30% or worse on 20-plus attempts, according to StatMuse.

His scoring has dropped to 19.6 points per game, which is the former MVP’s lowest output since his second year in the Association. Westbrook also leads all players in turnovers (156) and sits fifth in personal fouls (105). His 48.6% effective field-goal percentage ranks in the 39th percentile among point guards, per Cleaning the Glass.

Despite struggling in various aspects of the game, Westbrook remains confident in himself.

“People are saying, ‘Let Russ be Russ,’ … but nobody actually knows what that means but myself,” Westbrook said. “And I’m gonna lean on that and make sure I do what I’m supposed to do. And let everything else outside the locker room, whatever that may be, take care of itself.”

Russell Westbrook‘s first couple of games in purple and gold haven’t gone as well as he’d hoped, but the new Los Angeles Lakers guard isn’t losing sleep over the rough start.

“I’m OK with adversity, honestly,” Westbrook told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin Saturday. “I never panic throughout the course of a season. Especially at the start of the season. There’s really no need to. The season is too long and nobody is winning nothing right now.

“Yes, it’s good to get off to a good start and feel good about yourself, but especially me personally, I like to make sure that I’m, as the season goes on, I’m constantly just getting better and better and better as the season prolongs. And making sure that my team and my teammates are getting better as well as we all get comfortable with each other.”

Westbrook, 32, struggled to find his rhythm in the Lakers’ season opener, putting up just eight points on 30.8% shooting from the floor along with five rebounds and four assists in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. Following the game, he received some positive reinforcement from teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

He fared better Friday against the Phoenix Suns, falling just one assist short of a 15-point triple-double, but Los Angeles still lost by 10 in a game they once trailed by 32.

His combined 23 points are his second-lowest total through the first two games of a season behind only his rookie year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, when he managed just 19, courtesy of Stathead.

The nine-time All-Star and former MVP says he and the rest of his teammates only need to become accustomed to each other’s playing styles.

“Guys are figuring out how to run with me, and play a little faster. I’m figuring out how to do other things and moving off the ball,” Westbrook told McMenamin. “I’m OK with the struggle of figuring it out and making sure we are putting ourselves in the position to do the right things so that ultimately at the end of the year we can be playing our best basketball.”

The Washington Wizards could have lost both members of their starting backcourt this offseason.

Before asking Wizards owner Ted Leonsis for a trade to the Los Angeles LakersRussell Westbrook tried convincing Bradley Beal to leave the nation’s capital as well, sources told The Athletic’s Bill Oram, Shams Charania, and Sam Amick.

Beal opted not to request a trade, but was reportedly supportive of Westbrook’s desire to join the Lakers.

Beal can become a free agent this offseason if he declines his $37.3-million player option for 2022-23. The three-time All-Star has spent his entire nine-year career in Washington, averaging 22 points, 4.1 boards, and four assists over 605 appearances.

He registered a career-high 31.3 points per contest last season to finish second in the NBA’s scoring race.

Beal is the Wizards’ all-time leader in 3-point field goals and trails only Hall of Fame big man Elvin Hayes on the franchise’s scoring list.

Los Angeles Lakers owner and president Jeanie Buss admitted that it was a challenge to fill out the roster following the blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook officially joined the Lakers on Aug. 6 as part of a five-team swap that saw Kentavious Caldwell-PopeKyle Kuzma, and Montrezl Harrell sent to the Washington Wizards. That move, along with five key contributors departing for free agency, gutted Los Angeles’ top-heavy roster.

“We’re over the cap. We have really no room. When we made that trade (for Westbrook), we knew we’d have to fill the roster with seven or eight players at the veterans minimum,” Buss told The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan.

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka did exactly that, signing Carmelo AnthonyTrevor ArizaDwight HowardWayne EllingtonKent Bazemore, and Malik Monk to team-friendly one-year deals.

“And so trying to convince players to come on one-year deals for the minimum is a challenge,” Buss added. “So you get a lot of guys that are willing to take less money for the opportunity to possibly go for a championship or play in a city that has other opportunities as they transition to the next part of their career.”

With Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis combining to pocket more than $121 million for the 2021-22 season, Buss conceded that the Lakers benefit from the allure of playing alongside a Big Three in one of the league’s biggest markets.

“And we kind of had to capitalize on that because we’ve got three players taking up 90% of our payroll, and certainly, Russell Westbrook,” Buss said.

“You know we’ve got a Big Three now, and Russell is somebody that’s from L.A., went to UCLA, and I think our fans are going to be just cuckoo for him, are going to be so happy that he’s here. It’s like the return of one of our own.”

The new-look Lakers open the 2021-22 season at home on Oct. 19 against the Golden State Warriors.