Lakers Not Interested In Attaching First-Rounder To Possible Russell Westbrook Deals

While the Lakers apparently will explore Russell Westbrook trades this offseason, they are not interested in attaching a first-round draft pick to a deal, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic.Russell Westbrook

At least, not for the time being.

Several teams have already spoken to the Lakers about Westbrook, and all are insisting on at least one first-rounder.

That actually makes sense, given that Westbrook is coming off an uneven season and is expected to pick up the player option on his contract worth $47.4 million.

Still, LA hasn’t entirely given up on Westbrook, Buha reported. There is a sense around the organization that with the right coach, the superstar trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook can work.

Burt can it? The Lakers had a full season together and given how James likes to handle the ball and facilitate, Westbrook had to change his game a bit. And it never proved to be a real fit other than a few moments here and there.

“Buha personally believes that bringing back Westbrook would be a mistake, arguing that the Lakers should be willing to include a first-rounder if necessary to make a deal or even to take the approach the Rockets did with John Wall, leaving the point guard at home to start the season,” Hoops Rumors’ Luke Adams noted. “Waiving and stretching Westbrook’s contract or attempting to negotiate a buyout are other possible paths for L.A., but Buha views those as unlikely.”

For now, though, the Westbrook situation remains up in the air, it seems, as the Lakers search for their next coach.

“I said, talk to him. Whatever happened (this season), how can you make it better with Russell?” Magic Johnson told David Aldridge of The Athletic. “How can you make it more comfortable? So they’ve got to figure all these things out.”

Johnson reportedly has been advising the Lakers on the coaching search, as well as in other areas.

“Take him out, take him to dinner or sit him down,” he told Aldridge of Westbrook. “How can this thing be better? ‘Cause if he’s going to be there, it’s got to be better. I guess whoever they name, that’s the first thing they’re going to have to do. And you can’t sit down once. You’re going to have to sit down for a week or two to try to figure that thing out.”

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