The Los Angeles Lakers don’t want to start the regular season without knowing whether Russell Westbrook will be part of the team or not.
The 17-time NBA champions want to trade the former NBA MVP and have set the start of training camp as the deadline to do so.
“Now, to the second question, there will come a time in which the Lakers have to decide if they’re willing to continue to play hardball and risk missing their window to trade Russell Westbrook.
There is a sense among some that training camp is a soft deadline to move Westbrook. If he’s on the roster in late September, there will be a massive off-court distraction, with the media asking about his future, his relationship with James and the organization, Ham’s vision of his role and responsibilities,” Jovan Buha of The Athletic reports.
Russell Westbrook decided to pick up his player option, worth $47.1M, and remain with the 17-time NBA champions. For their part, the Lakers want to trade him, yet no team has shown significant interest to land him so far.
Recently, the franchise engaged in trade talks with the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks centered around Donovan Mitchell and Westbrook. Yet, there is still no deal between the three teams.
If he eventually stays with the squad, he will likely start for LA, however it is still unclear what his role will be. The Lakers aim to return to the playoffs next year and have a deep postseason run.