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NBA Insider Marc Stein Explains Why The Lakers Are 'Stuck' With Russell Westbrook: "They Do Not Want To Pay A Premium To Move On From Him So Soon After Giving Up So Much To Get Him..."

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The Los Angeles Lakers delivered a powerful performance against the short-handed Nets on Tuesday, previewing what kind of team they can be when things are going their way.

Unfortunately, those kinds of games from the 17x Champs have been a rarity this season. For the past few months, the Lakers have been embroiled in criticism connected to the team's poor play throughout the campaign -- and Russell Westbrook is the one at the center of it all.

But amid calls for Westbrook to be traded by the franchise, NBA Insider Marc Stein recently explained why the Lakers may have already eliminated the possibility of letting him go this season. According to Stein, the price of getting another team to take on Russ' contract is more than what Rob Pelinka is willing to pay.

The Lakers … appear determined to stick with Westbrook through at least the rest of the season — which means holding onto their 2027 first-round draft pick for other potential trade opportunities.

League sources say that the Lakers … are unwilling to attach the 2027 first-rounder to make the (Wall) deal happen.

There are a variety of reasons, sources say, that the Lakers refuse to do so. Surrendering such a valuable trade chip for a swap that isn’t guaranteed to raise the Lakers’ ceiling this season is the primary deterrent … There are also major optics concerns for the Lakers. Team officials, sources say, do not want to pay a premium to move on from Westbrook so soon after the Lakers gave up so much to get the Los Angeles native.

Swapping Russ for another star seems like an easy fix, but pulling off such a deal is more complicated than it seems.

Westbrook is set to make roughly $91 million over the next two seasons. Getting a team to take on that contract requires a load of assets -- assets which the Lakers do not have.

The reality is, that 2027 draft pick remains their only means of trading Westbrook and the Lakers do not seem keen on giving that up any time soon. For now, they're stuck with what they've got and they better make it work.