Russell Westbrook remains with the LA Lakers despite an offseason filled with trade rumors.
While the future Hall of Famer has played much better following a slow start, the Lakers are just 2-8 through their first ten games of the season. NBA analyst Howard Beck said that the Lakers could be waiting for a specific player to become available.
Speaking on his podcast, The Crossover NBA Show, Beck said:
“I was canvassing a bunch of front office folks last week… and in those discussions when I brought up the Lakers, the pushback I was getting was they’re waiting for a specific player.”
“That they’re not doing the Pacer deal, that they wouldn’t probably do now the Kyrie deal that we for sure thought they would do a couple months ago, is an indication that the Lakers are waiting for a bigger piece to come loose that they think they can trade Westbrook and the two future firsts for.”
While Beck wouldn’t elaborate on who he believes the player may be, he did share that he believes Russell Westbrook and two first-round picks won’t be enough to land a star.
He added that the Lakers would be best served by acquiring Hield and Turner. That would make their team deeper and push players down the pecking order into a role that better suits them.
Watch Howard Beck’s full comments below (starting at the 7:20 mark):
Russell Westbrook has turned things around recently
Russell Westbrook was a constant subject of trade rumors during the offseason. Following the LA Lakers‘ decision not to attach two first-round picks to his contract, he began the season slowly.
Following the awful three-game stretch, the 2016-17 NBA MVP was relegated to a sixth-man role for the first time since his rookie season in 2008-09.
While many expected him to pout regarding the demotion, Westbrook has responded tremendously. Despite the Lakers losing four of their six games since the move, the nine-time All-Star has had his best stretch with the team.
As the Lakers are still looking to move Westbrook, his recent play has helped boost his trade value. Teams had previously demanded two first-round picks to deal for Westbrook, but if he maintains this level of play, that could change.
Furthermore, the Lakers are 2-2 on the season when both LeBron James and Anthony Davis have played, and Russell Westbrook has come off the bench. While that may not seem impressive, consider that the Lakers are 0-6 in all other games.
If they’re unable to move Westbrook, the front office will hope that Westbrook maintaining his recent performance can help propel the Lakers into playoff contention.