Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Lakers pushed to trade Russell Westbrook for the 12-time All-Star

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Back in March, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and Russell Westbrook have a mutual interest in splitting up this offseason, and “Ball Don’t Stop” has a trade deal involving the Phoenix Suns .

On May 16, “Ball Don’t Stop” called for the Lakers to trade Westbrook to the Suns for Chris Paul, who has a close relationship with LeBron James.

Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists for the Lakers this season while shooting 44.4% from the floor, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free throw line . Meanwhile, Paul averaged 14.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game for the Suns while shooting 49.3% from field, 31.7% from 3-point range and 83.7 % shot out of the charity strip.

Westbrook has a player option worth $47,063,478 for next season while Paul will earn $28,400,000. Under CBA rules, the Lakers and Suns would not be able to complete a one-for-one trade with Westbrook and Paul. Phoenix would have to send Los Angeles another player to match the salaries.

The Lakers could trade Westbrook to the Suns for Paul and Jae Crowder. Crowder, who played 53 games with James for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18, will earn $10,183,800 next season.

Paul and Crowder would be a good match for James and Anthony Davis. They can both shoot from the perimeter and are not high turnover players.

Paul is a career 36.9% shooter from beyond the arc, averaging 9.5 assists and 2.4 turnovers. Meanwhile, Crowder is shooting 34.6% from 3-point range for his career and the Marquette product can protect point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards since he’s 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds.

Westbrook isn’t a great fit alongside James and Davis as he’s not a good shot from the periphery. The one-time MVP has shot 29.8% from beyond the arc this season, and his 47.6% effective field goal percentage was the sixth-worst in the league. Westbrook was also second in the NBA in turnovers.

Even though Paul struggled against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals, he would still be an upgrade over Westbrook as he can clear the ground and make better decisions with the ball in his hands. CP3 had an effective field goal percentage of 53.6% and finished the season with 702 assists and 153 turnovers.

However, it’s set in stone that the Lakers will trade against Westbrook this summer.

According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Lakers asked the coaching candidates questions about Westbrook and how they would use the UCLA product in their system. It seems that Los Angeles is bracing itself for the possibility of keeping Westbrook.

“More specifically, the idea of ​​Russell Westbrook remaining part of their program seems more and more real,” Amick said. “Despite the widespread belief that the Lakers would find a way to trade Westbrook before the start of next season, sources said their coaching candidates were asked to discuss how they would use him in their system during interviews. The takeaway for candidates appears to be that maximizing Westbrook’s presence after his disastrous 2021-22 season will be seen as an important part of this job.

According to LA Times’ Dan Woike and Broderick Turner, Westbrook never respected Frank Vogel, who was fired on April 11. If the Lakers keep Westbrook, the new coach needs to develop a good relationship with him.

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