The Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook in the offseason, but he failed to carry the team on his shoulders while injuries plagued most of the stars, which led them to miss the postseason completely.
Westbrook averaged 18.5 points per game, the lowest total for him since his second season in the NBA. He also averaged just 7.1 assists per game.
After the season, Westbrook called his relationship with since-fired coach Frank Vogel “unfortunate.”
“I’m not sure what his issue was with me, or I’m not sure why. But I can’t really give you an answer why we never really connected,” Westbrook told reporters. “Maybe that’s something that he has to answer, but … from the get-go, was feeling like I was having to like try and prove myself to him, and my capabilities and what I’ve been able to do for this game. It’s unfortunate, but it’s … out of my hands.”
Following the disappointing season, it’s still unclear what the Lakers plan to do with Westbrook, who could become a free agent if he doesn’t pick up his $ 47.1 million player option next month.
But the Athletic reported that teams aren’t exactly rushing to help get the Lakers out of the massive contract, especially considering how much of a disaster last season was for Los Angeles. Teams are reportedly demanding at least one first round pick to take on the contract.
Despite Westbrook’s previous comments about Vogel and the Lakers, the team doesn’t plan on using a first round pick to facilitate the trade, the outlet reported.
The Lakers had acquired Westbrook from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and Kyle Kuzma.
Los Angeles has yet to hire a new head coach since the firing of Vogel. If Westbrook stays in Los Angeles, a decent coach and improved supporting cast could help him fit in better with both James and Davis, the outlet reported.
Lakers team owner Jeanie Buss stated this month that she was unsatisfied with the lack of success. The Lakers have failed to make it out of the first round since winning the NBA championship during the coronavirus-impacted 2019-20 season.
“I’m growing impatient just because we had the fourth-highest payroll in the league. … When you spend that kind of money on the luxury tax, you expect to go deep into the playoffs,” Buss told the Los Angeles Times. “So, yeah, it was gut-wrenching for me to go out on a limb like that and not get the results that we were looking for. … I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied.”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report