The Los Angeles Lakers have been a team heavily involved in trade rumors this season, specifically regarding point guard Russell Westbrook.
However, it seems as though the Lakers have changed their tune on moving Westbrook. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers are not looking to trade Westbrook and are now focusing on winning with him on the roster.
“It’s not like [Westbrook’s] a tradable player where if it’s not working out, you just move on; everybody in the NBA knows that,” one team source said. “So it’s got to work. This is the only option. There is no Plan B for this season.”
The Lakers, and Westbrook, are not having the season they would have liked coming into the year.
Westbrook averages 18.6 points – the lowest mark of his career since his second season – and 7.7 assists per game while shooting a pedestrian 43.8 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from three. Westbrook’s poor play even resulted in him being benched by Frank Vogel for the final minutes of the Lakers 111-104 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
The Lakers are currently on the fringes of a playoff spot, sitting eighth in the Western Conference with a record of 24-24, and while Westbrook’s play has left something to be desired, Los Angeles is dealing with several issues that have resulted in the suboptimal record.
Star forward Anthony Davis has missed nearly half the season for the Lakers recovering from a knee injury, but he returned to action for the first time in over a month on Tuesday night in a 106-96 win against the Brooklyn nets.
LeBron James has also missed a noticeable portion of the season due to both health and safety protocols and a brief injury stint.
Vogel, like Westbrook, has also come under scrutiny this season for the Lakers’ performance, and like Westbrook, Shelburne reports that Vogel will remain with the team for the rest of the season. Shelburne reports that the decision is due to a lack of confidence that changing coaches would lead to a “dramatically different result.”