Report: Lakers won’t use first-round pick to trade Russell Westbrook, aren’t bluffing

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook
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The Lakers reportedly won’t waive or send home Russell Westbrook. They could theoretically attach a first-round pick or two and trade his $47,063,478 salary, but…

Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

Teams have been demanding the inclusion of at least one first-round pick to take on Westbrook’s massive expiring contract, according to league sources.

As of now, they have no intention of using a first-round pick to facilitate a Westbrook trade, according to league sources.

And it’s not merely a bluff or tactic to try to regain leverage in trade talks. That may be an ancillary motive, sure, but per league sources, there is a sentiment among some within the franchise that the right coach and a better supporting cast could smooth over Westbrook’s awkward fit with James and Davis.

If the Lakers won’t include a first-round pick (or presumably LeBron James or Anthony Davis), it’s nearly impossible to see a Westbrook trade happening.

It seems a little silly to report that the Lakers aren’t bluffing. A good bluff would mean their deception isn’t known. But this chaotic franchise seems incapable of executing such a plot.

So, what once appeared unlikely to many, now seems likely: Westbrook will begin next season in Los Angeles. It’ll be on the Lakers’ next coachwhomever that is – to get more from the 33-year-old point guard who wouldn’t have fit well with LeBron and Davis in peak form, has shown an overall decline in performance and sounds resistant to changing his playing style.