There is still time to turn it all around but it’s impossible to deny the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers–Russell Westbrook experiment isn’t working out.
Westbrook’s first year with the Lakers has seen him averaging 18.5 points, eight rebounds, and 7.8 assists a game.
On paper, those don’t look like bad numbers.
But when you watch Westbrook in action on the floor, he is full of missteps, lazy defense, and a basketball IQ that is way lower than what we expected from him.
Some nights he’s really good but some nights he’s really bad and that inconsistency is heartbreaking for Lakers fans, especially when you see someone like LeBron James bringing it every single game.
The truth is the Lakers are stuck with Westbrook, he isn’t going anywhere.
There have been rumors about trading him but those are all pipe dreams and complete hogwash because of one main reason: Westbrook is far too expensive to be traded.
The Lakers went all-in when they signed Westbrook in the summer.
This season, Westbrook is landing an incredible $44.2 million.
As you can imagine, that is the biggest contract on the Laker’s books right now, even larger than James’ $41 million.
Therefore, if the team wants to trade him to another, they need a buyer who is willing to put up a lot of cash.
For what Westbrook is producing, he’s just not worth it.
There is no trade-off to be made for Russell Westbrook.”@wojespn evidencing the obvious, no one will assume this contract.
— Scoreboard (@scoreboardUS) January 20, 2022
If he was playing at the best of his abilities, there would be numerous teams lining up to get him but that’s definitely not the case.
The Westbrook headache only gets worse when you realize how much the Lakers gave up to land him.
Obviously, they have James and Anthony Davis but there aren’t a lot of other proven reinforcements to help them out.
As mentioned, the Lakers went hard to get Westbrook and now are lacking any money to really secure any other players.
They’re strapped for cash because of the huge payout to Westbrook.
And it’s that payout that will keep him on the team.
The Option Is His
Westbrook also has a player option for next year.
This means that he is the one who decides his fate: will he want to stick with LA or cut his losses and try his hand as an unrestricted free agent.
You can bet that he is going to select the former and remain in Los Angeles.
And Russell Westbrook has a player option for $47M next season… yikes pic.twitter.com/cqWIO2vgHm
— Sports On DIRECTV (@SportsOnDIRECTV) January 13, 2022
Not only does Westbrook feel that the best days are ahead for him and his new team, he also knows that his door won’t be knocked down with requests from others.
He really is in the best place possible right now and he’s well aware of that.
The Lakers bet the farm on Westbrook and now they are stuck with him.
But it must be repeated again that things could turn around and the team – and Westbrook himself – could end up being just as good as so many LA fans had hoped.
However, as the 2021-22 season goes on, the chances of that happening soon seem less and less likely every single game.NEXT: Should The Lakers Fire Frank Vogel?