Lakers’ Russell Westbrook more likely to be traded or sent home after Patrick Beverley deal, according to report – CBS Sports

Lakers' Russell Westbrook more likely to be traded or sent home after Patrick Beverley deal, according to report - CBS Sports

The Kyrie Irving trade speculation may have stopped (for now), but that doesn’t mean the Los Angeles Lakers‘ point guard drama has come to an end. Thursday, the Lakers acquired veteran defensive tackle Patrick Beverleyleading to speculation about the status of beleaguered nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook moving forward.

It’s no secret that the Lakers have been eyeing trades involving Westbrook for quite some time, with several reports saying potential deals have been stymied by the Lakers’ unwillingness to include one or both of their available future first-round picks. With Irving off the table, it seemed plausible that the team would enter training camp with Westbrook as their starting point guard. New Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has already discussed a a new offensive vision for the former MVP that involves shooting more corner 3-pointers.

However, the addition of Beverley reintroduces questions about Westbrook’s future with the Lakers. In fact, with Beverley on the roster, it’s more likely that Westbrook won’t see the court at all for the Lakers next season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Westbrook could either be traded or simply sent away from the team. More from The Athletic:

“Beverley’s arrival makes it more likely that Westbrook will be off the active roster before the start of training camp, either through a trade or the team will send him home like the Rockets did with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation. .”

Exchanged, sure. But the John Wall Treatment? That’s a scenario that hasn’t really been suggested as a realistic possibility. Beverley is a useful starting point guard and might add some seriousness to a Lakers defense that fell from NBA-best in 2020-21 to 21st last season. Westbrook was one of the worst offensive players in the league last season in terms of efficiency — his 0.844 points per possession was second to last for any player with at least 1,000 possessions, according to Synergy Sports — but if he’s ready. accept a new role under Ham, he may provide far more dynamism and offensive firepower than Beverley.

That said, projections from SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh say the Lakers would be significantly better in 2022-23 without Westbrook, even without pieces coming back in a trade.

With Westbrook

45.4

66.1%

8.8%

4.8%

Without Westbrook

47.5

76.1%

11.8%

6.3%

difference

2.1

2.6%

3.0%

1.5%

“The sims have a long history of viewing Westbrook as a case of addition by subtraction, when we had OKC getting better by several games with Chris Paul and Houston getting worse after trading for Westbrook,” Oh explained.

The fact that the Lakers would be willing to pay Westbrook $47 million to sit at home speaks to the damaged relationship between the two parties. Obviously, trade is the preferred option – deals with Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from the rebuild. Indiana Pacers come to mind — but that would almost certainly require the Lakers to surrender at least one of their future picks, especially since Talen Horton-Tucker, one of their only young assets, went to the Utah Jazz in the Beverley trade.

So far the Lakers have been unwilling to compromise their future to remove Westbrook from the roster, and now it appears they may be content to eat his salary to keep him off the team. Of course, there’s always the possibility that this report is asking the Lakers to make it seem like they’re not as desperate to unload Westbrook as they seem. Only time will tell, but it’s looking increasingly realistic that Westbrook won’t be fit for the Lakers to start the 2021-22 season.

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