After trading for Patrick Beverley, the Lakers reportedly aren’t done looking to make moves, but they might not be the ones fans are expecting.
While every Los Angeles Lakers fan was hoping that a Kyrie Irving trade was coming down the pipeline, the team delivered a deal that was far lesser in terms of name-brand value as they traded for veteran nuisance Patrick Beverley.
Trading for a point guard seemingly signaled two things to Lakers fans and the NBA world. First, combined with the fact that Kevin Durant is staying, a trade for Irving feels highly unlikely now. Secondly, there was a hope that it meant the team could be moving closer towards trading away Russell Westbrook.
However, the latest intel around Los Angeles suggests that, while a Westbrook trade is possible and while the Lakers are still trying to make moves and improve the roster, moving on from the much-maligned guard is not a priority.
Lakers rumors: Trades incoming, but could or could not include Russell Westbrook
Shams Charania of The Athletic said on The Rich Eisen Show that he expects LA to continue to pursue moves that will make the team better in 2022 but that their “concerted effort” will be on finding the right value and moves and not on getting rid of Westbrook (h/t Kurt Helin of Yahoo! Sports).
As Helin noted in his piece, the organization not being focused wholly on trading Westbrook does not mean it won’t happen. If they were to pull off a trade with the Pacers that has been talked about often that would send Buddy Hield and Myles Turner to Los Angeles, Westbrook would almost certainly be involved. And there are other trades that could materialize that would include him as well.
At the same time, though, the feeling being suggested is that the Lakers are going to work in the margins for role players that can have a positive impact on the roster rather than swing for the fences in a blockbuster that would include Westbrook.
With this team and the influence of LeBron James, you can never know for sure what their next move will be. Having said that, there is some writing on the wall after the Beverley deal to suggest what the next moves could look like.