Western Notes: Westbrook, Rockets, Jones, Durant, Saric

While Lakers star Russell Westbrook hasn’t asked for a trade, he remains open to the possibility, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said on The Lowe Post podcast. Training camps open later this month, so Los Angeles is running out of time if it wants to deal Westbrook before the season officially starts up.

In 78 games last year, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per night, shooting a respectable 44% from the floor. He played more games than any other player on the Lakers and had a better season than most fans give him credit for.

Of course, film and advanced metrics certainly wouldn’t reveal the player that was once a league MVP, nor would it reveal a player worth the $47MM he’s owed next season. However, it’s still possible Westbrook doesn’t finish — or even start — the 2022/23 season with the Lakers.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Rio Grande Valley Vipers — G League affiliate of the Rockets — have hired Kevin Burleson as head coach, the team announced on social media (Twitter link). Burleson replaces Mahmoud Abdelfattah, who was promoted to become a Rockets assistant coach. Burleson was most recently an assistant coach with the Timberwolves.
  • The Suns didn’t have in-depth discussions with the Nets about a potential Kevin Durant trade, general manager James Jones said, as relayed by Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (subscription required). Phoenix re-signed starting center Deandre Ayton, while Durant ultimately returned to the Nets last month. The Suns were reportedly one of Durant’s preferred destinations when he requested a trade in June.
  • In a separate article for the Arizona Republic, Rankin explores five takeaways from Dario Saric‘s EuroBasket play. Saric, who was traded to the Suns in 2019, suffered a torn ACL in 2021 and missed all of last season, but he plans to be ready for the start of the 2022/23 campaign.
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