July 5, 2022

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Lakers haven’t dominated out waiving Russell Westbrook, report says; the guard says the “plan” is to return to Los Angeles

Russell Westbrook’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t go as deliberate. On Tuesday, they had been knocked out of the playoffs by the identical crew that knocked them out of the playoffs a 12 months in the past: the Phoenix Suns. Westbrook struggled to slot in alongside LeBron James, who dominates the ball. He hasn’t improved as a shooter, grown as an off-ball participant, or dedicated to enjoying strong protection. Moreover, his $44 million wage has prevented the Lakers from sustaining the deep supporting forged that has made them so harmful in current seasons. The transfer, in nearly each manner, was a catastrophe.

However after the 121-110 loss to Phoenix, Westbrook indicated he was prepared to strive all of it once more if that’s how issues go.

“That’s the plan,” Westbrook said after the sport earlier than acknowledging the fact of the state of affairs. “However nothing is promised. You sort of should take it sooner or later at a time every single day. Like I’ve stated all through the season, you must play the playing cards which might be dealt to you. Sure, we need to see what it seems to be like, what it entails in an 82-game season, however we additionally don’t know if it’s assured, I simply hope we now have an opportunity to do one thing.

If Westbrook needs to stick with the Lakers, the primary domino is his to knock down. He has a $47 million participant choice for subsequent season. If he will get it again, he’ll not less than be underneath contract with the crew, however they’ll nonetheless be free to commerce him. After all, if the Lakers are anxious they will’t transfer him, Westbrook may supply to say no the choice and prolong his contract for a number of seasons at a decrease price. It might additionally doubtless be nasty, and if the Lakers wished to, they may simply use the stretch provision to waive Westbrook and pay him what he’s owed over a number of years — on Thursday, Marc Stein reported they didn’t haven’t dominated this output. If Westbrook reached the open market, he wouldn’t win provides near the $47 million the Lakers are obligated to pay him if he indicators.

Westbrook isn’t the one Laker nice to trace he wouldn’t thoughts firing him. Anthony Davis puzzled after Sunday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets what may have been. “Guys are like, ‘OK, what may we now have been if I used to be wholesome all 12 months, [LeBron James] was wholesome, [Kendrick] Nunn was wholesome? You concentrate on these issues,” Davis stated. “We put this crew collectively and it regarded good on paper, however we weren’t fortunate sufficient to succeed in that potential with guys out and in of it. alignment. So essentially the most irritating a part of this season will not be being certain what we may have been.”

Even when the Lakers (31-48) had their all-star line full, they weren’t significantly efficient. They had been outclassed even in the course of the minutes when all three performed collectively. The trio simply didn’t go collectively. None are snipers. They had been cramped for one another, and their large salaries prevented the crew from including the sort of actors that will have made sense alongside them.

The most well-liked assumption is that Westbrook will take this $47 million choice. Financially talking, it will be silly to not. From there, the ball is within the Lakers courtroom. They’ll certainly search commerce alternatives, and with Westbrook on a contract expiring this offseason, transferring him might be doable. If not, Westbrook not less than appears open to fixing the fences, though there’s little proof to recommend it will be price it for both facet.