Despite the frosty relationship between Westbrook and LeBron on display for all to see in Las Vegas, the trio jumped on the phone together and hash things out, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Big 3 of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook huddled up on a phone conversation the first weekend of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with each expressing their commitment to one another and vowing to make it work, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Good luck with that.
New Lakers coach Darvin Ham has said all the right things this offseason about getting Davis healthy and playing like he did in the bubble, and getting Westbrook to play within the system. Peak Davis remains the biggest key to the Lakers’ success next season — regardless of what other trades are made — but an inefficient Westbrook refusing to play a role or within the system could still sabotage those plans. Westbrook splitting with his long-time agent is not a great sign he’s ready to accept a lesser role right now.
“I think the Lakers will make a deal. Maybe more than one deal. It may not be for Kyrie Irving, it may not be for an All-NBA player, an All-Star. But players like Eric Gordon in Houston, Buddy Hield in Indiana, players like Patrick Beverley, who came to the Jazz in a trade from Minnesota, who are role players are winning teams. What is the price for those kind of moves? I think they’re going to continue to be active on all those things.”
Marc Stein added this bit of pure speculation in his latest newsletter.
Yet one league source advised me in Las Vegas to keep an eye on the Knicks and Lakers discussing a potential Westbrook deal if — IF — Leon Rose can successfully bring Donovan Mitchell to Madison Square Garden. The source’s thinking: After adding Mitchell, New York would be expected to explore scenarios to trade away Julius Randle. And Randle, just one season removed from his breakthrough to All-Star and All-NBA status, is presumably the sort of player that the Lakers would have to consider taking on if — IF — they are unable to use Westbrook’s $47.1 million expiring contract in a trade for Kyrie Irving.
That’s a lot of “ifs.” A LOT. However, the point is clear. In an ideal world, the Lakers would be able to trade Westbrook for Irving (although Westbrook would have to go to a third team with cap space because the Nets are not interested, and that means the Lakers would have to send out one of their first-round draft picks — or maybe both — to get the deal done, and the Lakers have not been willing to go down that road).
With that ideal scenario unlikely, the Lakers are exploring other options.
But if they have to bring Westbrook into camp with LeBron and Davis, everyone is saying all the right things. We’ll have to see if their actions match their words.