Russell Westbrook’s second season with the Lakers begins on hardwood Monday night in Los Angeles, when the pre-season game against Sacramento kicks off and the Hall of Famer finds himself in the spotlight once again.
While Westbrook hasn’t traded in the summer as many had expected across the league, league sources told The Athletic that the possibility of a trade in in the coming weeks and months remains real. In an ideal world, Westbrook would find his stride with these Lakers, the team performed at a top level, victories would follow and the franchise would finally show its potential in the short and long term. But the decision to trade him or not will depend on many factors – not the least of which is his game and his continued willingness to follow through on the plan laid out by first-year coach Darvin Hamm. For this elite franchise desperately wanting to make the most of LeBron James’ twilight years after signing an extension in mid-August, this is a crucial choice that could determine whether the Lakers return to title contention any time soon.
Here is an updated look at the situation.
On the cusp of training camp, with Media Day approaching and the topic of Westbrook’s unknown future continuing to dominate the conversation about the NBA, sources familiar with the negotiations say key Lakers decision makers have spent several days in deep conversations about the viability of a massive trade with Indiana.