Westbrook Could Move To Los Angeles

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Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards
Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards

The Los Angeles Lakers are in an early offseason after being ousted by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the recently concluded NBA playoffs.

Many favored the Lakers to come out of the Western Conference due to the fact that they were reigning NBA champions and looked set to defend the title despite LeBron James struggling with a high-ankle sprain.

A devastating groin injury to Anthony Davis, coupled with poor bench play, led to their early exit.

Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka has a lot to fix this offseason, starting with the point guard.

Letting Rajon Rondo walk to the cross-town rival Clippers was arguably their biggest mistake last offseason as they sorely missed the stability that he brought to the position.

Dennis Schroder became their main man at point, with Alex Caruso acting as his back up.

Very quickly it exposed the Lakers’ glaring depths at the position.

With James acting as the main point guard, teams knew that by focusing solely on him and Davis, their offense will stagnate as their wing players and guards were sometimes left in the corner standing and waiting for the ball to come to them.

The Suns exploited this repeatedly and unceremoniously dispatched the Lakers in six games.

Now in the offseason, the Lakers are looking for a point guard to take the pressure off James’ broad shoulders.

The free agent market is rife with veteran point guards, all of which could help stabilize the Lakers.

Chris Paul is expected to decline his player option, Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, and Patty Mills are all unrestricted free agents while Lonzo Ball is a restricted free agent.

However, new reports indicate that the Lakers are discussing a sign-and-trade deal for Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards.

According to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears, the Lakers are targeting a veteran point guard and among those shortlisted are Paul and Westbrook.

In the deal for Westbrook, the Lakers are considering a sign-and-trade with Schroder to send him to Washington alongside Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker.

Signing Paul is more of a longshot since he can only sign a $9.5 million midlevel exception with them as their cap space is tied mostly to James and Davis.

Having Westbrook in the backcourt allows James and Davis to solely focus on doing what they do best by finding the open man and creating shots for themselves.

Schroder and the Lakers are in their own contract negotiations, with Schroder valuing himself higher than what the team can feasibly offer him.

This is a certainly interesting option for the Lakers should Paul re-up his contract with Phoenix but the worry would then go back to adding more depth in the bench roles since Montrezl Harrell might be leaving town soon.

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