Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Role, Ham, Trade Talks, Schröder –

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Role, Ham, Trade Talks, Schröder -

Despite the fresh additions of Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroeder, Russell Westbrook increasingly likely to stay on the Lakers‘roster, according to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Soccer Club.

However, sources tell The Athletic that Westbrook’s role could change, with the team “strongly” considering the former league MVP coming off the bench in 2022/23. New head coach Darwin Ham has the organization’s “full support” in determining lineups for next season, and Westbrook will have to outperform his new teammates during minicamp, training camp and the preseason to remain the Lakers’ starting point guard, Buha and Amick write.

Unless the Lakers can find a trade they believe is a legitimate title contender, Westbrook will “very likely” remain on the roster, sources tell The Athletic.

A key part of that thinking is that the Lakers want to keep their financial and trade options open for ’23/24, when they project to have $30MM+ in free agency cap space, according to Buha and Amick. Westbrook has an expiring contract worth $47.1MM, and the Lakers are reluctant to trade their 2027 and/or 2029 first-round picks to offload him.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Los Angeles is confident that Ham can optimize Westbrook’s talent — and get him that way. Frank Vogel could not — as well as return to health for Anthony Davis for the ’22/23 season to be successful, sources tell Buha and Amick.
  • According to Buha and Amick, the Lakers discussed a four-team trade with the Jazz, Knicks and Hornets before Donovan Mitchell being treated to Cleveland, with an early frame shipment Bojan Bogdanovic and Terry Rozier to LA
  • Los Angeles continues to show interest in Bogdanovic, with The Athletic’s duo reporting that Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley were included in recent talks with Utah for Westbrook. However, a deal is considered unlikely for the aforementioned reasons – the Lakers don’t want to part with a first-rounder and Clarkson has a $14.3MM play option for ’23/24 that would eat into the team’s potential cap room.
  • Along the same lines, Buha and Amick write that treatment Westbrook to the peacemakers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turnerwho was reportedly multiple timesis also “not expected” – Hield has a $19.3MM cap hit in ’23/24.
  • Schröder did an Instagram poster expressing his excitement about returning to the Lakers, saying he wants to “do s*** right!” Schröder’s agent, Mark’s Mark Medina reports (Twitter link) that the team informed Schröder that “there will be plenty of minutes for everyone” despite a packed back yard.

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