The Los Angeles Lakers had a pretty disappointing 2021-22 NBA season. After getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round last season, most expected the team to be back with a bang this time around.
Moreover, they made a lot of changes in order to fulfill that wish as well. But once the dust settled, the Lakers didn't even qualify for the playoffs. It was quite a shock as the team had added Russell Westbrook to the formidable superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
While Russ might not be the player he once was, he was still expected to increase the team's chances of winning the championship. Unfortunately, watching Westbrook play this season felt like he never truly settled with the franchise.
Following this poor season, most are expecting the Lakers to trade the former NBA MVP. But a recent report revealed that the team is still undecided about the future of Westbrook with the team.
In fact, the franchise is even asking its head coach candidates how they might utilize Westbrook in their plans for the team. At first glance, it might seem that the Lakers have decided to give him another shot, but NBA analyst Chris Broussard believes the reality is quite different.
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"I think they're smart enough to know that look we've got to make it seem like we really want to keep Russ. We've got to up his value so that maybe we get something for him. I will say this, I don't think the Lakers are excited about not only having to give up maybe assets in the future like a first-round draft pick or two to get rid of Russ, but they also understand they might have to take back long-term salaries, like ugly contracts in return for guys that might not be that good."
He added, "They might bring him back if they just can't move him. I think their first option and choice is to get rid of him. But if the offers are so bad, and they can't stomach a buyout. ... I think that's smart. I think it's just see what they say about what they would do with Russ. It also tells you about their basketball acumen as well. So I don't think that's a negative that they're asking coaching candidates about how they will handle the Russ."
To be honest, as of now, Russell Westbrook doesn't have a lot of trade value on the market. He has a huge contract and is declining with each passing season. Any NBA team would be skeptical about taking on that contract.
If Westbrook returns to the Lakers, he will have a chip on his shoulder. It will act as a double-edged sword. Lakers fans will hope that Westbrook will prove his haters wrong, but at the same time, if he has another poor season, it will probably be the end of Westbrook's career as a superstar in the league.