The Los Angeles Lakers are moving quickly toward revamping the roster this offseason. It’s led to trade rumors around possibly acquiring star point guard Russell Westbrook. The former league MVP may have further fueled the chatter regarding joining the Lakers after his latest social media move.
Lakers are eyeing backcourt upgrades
The Lakers‘ early playoff exit sent the team barrelling into the offseason rethinking the roster construction.
Injuries played a significant part in the Lakers’ postseason downfall, but it also saw the supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis struggle. It became quite evident during the first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.
After Davis suffered a groin injury, the Lakers didn’t receive stable play outside of James. It sent a crystal clear message to the front office that changes are needed to lift the team toward championship contention.
It’s already circled the wagons around addressing the backcourt, with several players becoming linked to Los Angeles. One of which may have just further fueled the speculation after a social media move.
Russell Westbrook’s latest social media move sparks Lakers trade rumors
Since the Lakers headed into the offseason, the team continues to remain linked to prominent backcourt options.
Former league MVP Russell Westbrook sits near the top of the list of potential targets. A recent report from Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated suggested the Lakers will explore avenues to acquire the star point guard. The initial rumblings became supported by additional chatter that the front office may offer Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Dennis Schroder.
The Schroder part of the deal hinges on him agreeing to a sign-and-trade as he’s becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. Nonetheless, the discussion around Westbrook to the Lakers sits as a possibility.
The 32-year-old may have just further fueled the speculation as he recently chose to follow Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul on Instagram. The timing of the move lends to the rumors as the Lakers work to intensify its push to land Westbrook.
The star guard is in the fourth year of his five-year, $206.7 million deal that includes a roughly $47 million player option for the 2022-23 season. The Lakers would need to perform some salary-cap gymnastics to make a trade feasible, but adding Westbrook is certainly a possibility.
Los Angeles will explore several offseason options
Westbrook is among the several offseason options as the front office aims to construct a championship-contending roster.
Los Angeles holds a strong desire to improve the backcourt, especially after last season saw Schroder struggle to securely fit into that prominent ball-handling playmaker role. The team could re-sign him, but it appears the franchise wants to bring aboard another proven guard.
It’s quickly linked the team to players such as Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Buddy Hield, Spencer Dinwiddie, Lonzo Ball and, Collin Sexton. Los Angeles wants to possess stability beyond James and Davis that it didn’t hold last year.
The front office will likely venture into the sign-and-trade market to acquire high-impact talent due to its financial constraints. It will result in Kuzma or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope being shipped off to address a pressing need, such as a playmaker or outside shooting. If Montrezl Harrell picks up his $9.7 million player option for next season, it could also see him become a piece in trade talks.
With the start of free agency less than a week away, the Lakers will be among the most active teams looking to revamp its roster.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.