Lakers Notes: Westbrook, THT, Beverley, Schröder

It remains very possible that the Lakers move Russell Westbrook in a trade before the 2022/23 season begins, but if Rob Pelinka and his front office can’t find a deal they like, new head coach Darvin Ham is determined to “carve out a real role” for Westbrook, Marc Stein writes at Substack.

Sources tell Stein that the Lakers have thus far resisted the idea of taking the John Wall route with Westbrook and having him sit at home while he remains under contract with the team. The Rockets took that approach with Wall last season and spent the season exploring the trade market before eventually reaching a buyout agreement with the veteran point guard this summer, when he had one year left on his contract. Westbrook is entering the final year of his own deal.

As Stein observes, there were indications on social media last week that the Lakers are prepared to incorporate Westbrook if he’s not traded in the coming weeks. LeBron James tweeted that he expects his teammate to “go off” this season, and the Lakers’ official Twitter account included Westbrook in a series of videos and photos of players’ offseason workouts.

Here’s more from Stein on the Lakers:

  • League sources tell Stein that the Lakers initially resisted the idea of trading Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverley when they started to discuss a potential deal with the Jazz in July, since L.A. wants to get younger and more athletic this season. However, after LeBron signed an extension, the club seemed more willing to shift into win-now mode, Stein writes, which made Beverley a better fit than Horton-Tucker.
  • Stein, who first reported last Tuesday that the Lakers were giving “legit consideration” to the idea of signing Dennis Schröder, says it’s unclear whether the acquisition of Beverley eliminates Schröder as a possibility. The team has a good deal of depth at point guard for the time being, with Westbrook, Beverley, and Kendrick Nunn all in the mix, but if Westbrook is traded, that might re-open the door for Schröder.
  • In case you missed it, we outlined on Friday why it will be challenging for the Lakers to include meaningful protections on their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks if they trade them.
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