Despite pleas and cries from the fans, the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t do anything at the NBA trade deadline.
Even though many die-hard followers and analysts hoped that they would, the team decided to not attempt any trades, including one involving Russell Westbrook.
To some, this was a real head-scratcher of a choice.
Laker fans watching the Lakers at the trade deadline pic.twitter.com/3mdjGFosDz
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 10, 2022
Why did LA decide to stick with Westbrook after the troubled season he’s been having.
Wouldn’t it have made sense to send him away for someone in hopes of keeping the season alive.
What caused the Lakers to stand by their man and keep Westbrook?
The biggest reason that Westbrook will remain in purple in gold is because he’s just too darn expensive to trade.
He is earning $44 million this year playing for LA and has a player option for next season at a cost of $47 million.
Russell Westbrook is turning into a game of hot potato of who wants to take on this terrible contract pic.twitter.com/SAtswmqF1L
— recently-exiled turnovincenzo (@threevincenzo) February 9, 2022
If any team was interested in landing Westbrook, they’d have to swallow the bitter pill of his pricey contract.
That’s just too hard a pillow for any team to swallow.
It’s made even harder because Westbrook just isn’t having a terrific season.
Yes, he’s gotten better but he is still wildly inconsistent and is not the clutch player that people had hoped he’d be.
So if the Lakers did want to trade Westbrook, they would need to find a team with very deep pockets and the ability to overlook his hit-or-miss record.
You know that was just never going to happen.
Things Could Still Turn Around
This might sound too optimistic for some, but there is a chance that Westbrook and the Lakers turn the season around and have a great run after the All-Star Game.
It’s possible, although not very likely but it’s one of the reasons why the team didn’t part ways with Westbrook.
He has struggled before with other teams and he has also flipped a switch inside himself after the All-Star Game and has helped lead teams into the postseason when everyone had written them off.
The Lakers are hoping that he will do that again.
The team obviously saw reasons to get Westbrook and they probably still do, even though he isn’t showing them as he should.
The truth is that Westbrook is surrounded by an incredibly strong group of players and there is reason to believe they could finally start functioning correctly as a great and powerful team.
As painful as it may be to fans, the Lakers’ front office wants to give this lineup a bit more time before they throw in the towel.
But make no mistake, time is running out.
There was a time when a few losses were acceptable but the problems keep coming up again and again.
We are now at the point in the season when every single loss does count a lot more, especially for a team struggling to make it into the playoffs.
The Lakers have their reasons for keeping Westbrook, both financial and practical.
Fans are making peace with the fact that he’s here to stay – now the team needs to deliver on the promises they made in the offseason.