With the New Year now well underway, many Lakers fans have grown frustrated at the current state of the team.
While LeBron James is playing like an MVP candidate, the rest of the squad has failed to surround him with enough support, resulting in a lackluster 20-19 record through the first half of the season.
Mostly, fans have blamed Russell Westbrook for the team's poor performance. Russ, who turned 33 in November, has been a model of inefficiency since his arrival, averaging 19.5 points and 4.6 turnovers per game on 45% from the field.
Naturally, calls to trade him before the deadline have surfaced (and even the Lakers have reportedly looked into the possibility), but things have gotten so bad that no other team seems willing to give him a chance at the moment.
Here's the report, by the Los Angeles Times' Dan Woike.
The biggest issue the Lakers will face heading into trade season is a lack of players and draft picks that people will want to make a deal. It’s simple as that.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported this week that the Lakers have had internal discussions about possibly trading Russell Westbrook, but according to my sources around the NBA, the appetite for that player making $44 million this season and $47 million the next is low.
Maybe a team with a playoff-hungry owner could convince themselves that Westbrook’s competitiveness would push their team into one of the top 10 spots in each conference and maybe past the play-in round. But would those teams want to send back the kinds of players in a trade that would help the Lakers win, weakening their own position to do so? Again, the chances of that are low.
Russ has had plenty of really solid games for the Lakers this season, and he was widely hailed for his play during them.
But if the Lakers are ever going to return to a state of contention, like they were in 2020, Westbrook is going to have to be more consistent and play his best every single night.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, it looks like he'll be stuck with them for the foreseeable future. So they have no choice but to keep trying and figure out how to best incorporate his skillset with the guys they have.