Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Reaves, Nunn, Monk, Bradley

The Lakers exhibited some “covert interest” in discussing a possible Russell Westbrook trade with rival executives earlier in the season, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Amick is the second reporter in the last month to suggest the Lakers have considered the possibility of a Westbrook trade. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report previously stated that the team had internally discussed the idea and made at least one outgoing call.

Still, as Fischer pointed out in December and as Amick reiterated today, the odds of the Lakers actually making a pre-deadline deal involving Westbrook are slim. His contract, which includes a $44MM+ cap hit for this season and a $47MM+ player option for 2022/23, remains a significant obstacle.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Rookie guard Austin Reaves originally entered the Lakers’ rotation out of necessity, but even with a healthier roster, head coach Frank Vogel has felt compelled to keep playing him, writes Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group. “Me trusting him was more brought onto me because he was forced into action due to injuries,” Vogel said. “You get shorthanded and it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s see what he can do.’ And he excelled in those opportunities to the point where when other guys came back, we still wanted to keep him in there.” Reaves’ 2021/22 salary will become fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through Friday.
  • Within the same story, Goon writes that Kendrick Nunn may finally be nearing a return. Vogel cautioned there’s still no precise timetable, but said Nunn is “getting close” to make his Lakers debut. “Kendrick’s going to get a ton of minutes when he gets back healthy,” Vogel said. “It’s gonna be at the expense of somebody else, at least for that time being, to see how he fits in our system along with our stars. All that stuff will play out.”
  • Following Malik Monk‘s sixth consecutive strong showing on Tuesday night, LeBron James said the Lakers wanted Monk “last year” before eventually signing him over the summer as a free agent. As Bill Oram of The Athletic tweets, James explained that he wanted to find a way to get the former lottery pick to Los Angeles back when his role in Charlotte was inconsistent.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores the Lakers’ options for bringing back Stanley Johnson and suggests that Avery Bradley will likely have his 2021/22 salary guaranteed later this week.
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