Lakers have not ruled out waiving Russell Westbrook

The Lakers, league sources say, have not ruled out simply parting ways with Westbrook via the waive-and-stretch provision. A straight release of Westbrook that essentially transforms his mammoth player option for next season into what lives on their books as a three-year deal in the $15 million range annually would move the Lakers out of luxury-tax territory and make it far easier for them to retain free agent-to-be Malik Monk, who at times has unexpectedly appeared to be the Lakers’ most dependable player not named LeBron James throughout a nightmarish 31-48 campaign. Facilitating Monk’s return might be reason enough for the Lakers to go this route and is expected, league sources say, to be under consideration.
Source: Marc Stein @ marcstein.substack.com

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine
Trading Russell Westbrook … options already on the Lakers’ board, what rival teams project, proceeding straight to waive-and-stretch … ALL covered in today’s piece: marcstein.substack.com/p/trading-russ…11:09 AM

Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
Trae Young last night:
✅ 30 PTS
✅ 11 AST
✅ 11-12 FT
It’s the 20th time Young has recorded at least 30p/10a in a game this season, the third-most such games since the ABA-NBA merger:
29 – James Harden, 2016-17
26 – Russell Westbrook, 2016-17
20 – Young, 2021-22 pic.twitter.com/hxVLZX89TM9:11 AM

Dave McMenamin @mcten
Russell Westbrook has been added to the Lakers’ injury report for Thursday in Golden State as questionable with right shoulder soreness. LeBron James (left ankle sprain) and Anthony Davis (right mid-foot sprain) remain questionable – 8:06 PM

Brad Turner @BA_Turner
The Lakers list LeBron James (left ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (right foot) and Russell Westbrook (right shoulder soreness) as questionable for game at Warriors. – 7:51 PM

Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA
Anthony Davis, LeBron James AND Russell Westbrook are listed as QUESTIONABLE for tomorrow’s game against the Warriors: pic.twitter.com/kEPU7AW74V7:50 PM

Jorge Sierra @hoopshype
Lakers offseason preview: What to do with Russell Westbrook, LeBron’s extension and more.
hoopshype.com/lists/lakers-o…3:49 PM

Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria
Among the names on the list for the WNBA Draft:
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, UConn
Christyn Williams, UConn
Evina Westbrook, UConn
Destanni Henderson, South Carolina – 3:21 PM

Bob Garcia @bgarciaivsports
Russell Westbrook is irrational to believe the #Lakers will bring him back.
#Lakeshow #NBA
sportscasting.com/russell-westbr…2:04 PM

Sopan Deb @SopanDeb
If before the season, you were told that Russell Westbrook would average 19/7/7 on roughly the same efficiency as last year, most people would’ve been cool with that production. He did roughly what was expected of him this season! – 11:44 AM

Jorge Sierra @hoopshype
Russell Westbrook on the future for the Lakers… pic.twitter.com/IlLa9oCJsQ11:15 AM

Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
Joel Embiid last night:
✅ 45 PTS
✅ 13 REB
✅ 18-30 FG
It’s the 12th time Embiid has recorded at least 40p/10r in a game this season.
He has tied Moses Malone (1981-82) and Russell Westbrook (2016-17) for the most such games in a single season since the ABA-NBA merger. pic.twitter.com/2vSYu2Ynn69:01 AM

Chris Palmer @ChrisPalmerNBA
Russell Westbrook has 194 more triple doubles than you do. – 2:04 AM

Michael Scotto @MikeAScotto
Russell Westbrook on playing with LeBron and Anthony Davis next season: “That’s the plan, but nothing is promised. You’ve got to take one day at a time each day… Yes, we want to be able to see what that looks like over an 82-game season, but we’re not sure if that’s guaranteed” pic.twitter.com/mTRjaeSSTz1:24 AM

Kamenetzky Brothers @KamBrothers
I know everyone wants to rush to judgment, but I don’t think you can fully evaluate the Westbrook deal until the season is completely over. BK – 1:22 AM

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina
Russell Westbrook on if he’d like to be able to have more chances to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis next season: “That’s the plan. But nothing is promised. You have to take one day at a time each day.” – 1:16 AM

Bill Oram @billoram
Asked by @Dave McMenamin if he wants an opportunity to come back next season and compete with LeBron and AD, Russell Westbrook says, “That’s the plan.” – 1:14 AM

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina
Russell Westbrook on the Lakers’ tough season: “I was able to just stay real faithful and true to what I believe in, regardless of what was ever thrown my way or our way and continue to fight, regardless of the results.” – 1:13 AM

Kyle Goon @kylegoon
Russell Westbrook on the Lakers being eliminated: “It’s obviously disappointing on many levels. Not much you can do about it at this point.” – 1:11 AM

Ryan Ward @RyanWardLA
Russell Westbrook on Lakers getting eliminated: “It’s obviously disappointing on many levels.” – 1:11 AM

Brandon Rahbar @BrandonRahbar
The Los Angeles Lakers missing the playoffs is not on Russell Westbrook. – 1:02 AM

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha
Final: Suns 121, Lakers 110
The Lakers drop to 31-48 and are eliminated from the Play-In tournament. Russell Westbrook had 28 points. Anthony Davis had 21 points and 13 rebounds. What an incredibly disappointing end to a disastrous season.
Up next: at Golden State on Thursday. – 12:49 AM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
Final: PHX 121, LAL 110
Booker: 32 Pts, 7 Reb, 6-9 3P
Ayton: 22 Pts, 13 Reb, 10-14 FG
Paul: 6 Pts, 12 Ast
Westbrook: 28 Pts, 10-20 FG
Suns win a franchise-record 63 games and officially eliminate the Lakers from playoff/play-in contention – 12:48 AM

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha
Third quarter: Suns 98, Lakers 80
Phoenix blew this game open in the third, continuing the momentum that they closed the first half with. Russell Westbrook has 23 points. Anthony Davis has 17 points and 8 rebounds. The Lakers have 12 minutes to improbably save their season. – 12:22 AM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
End of 3Q: PHX 98, LAL 80
Booker: 32 Pts, 6 Reb, 6-9 3P
Ayton: 22 Pts, 13 Reb, 10-14 FG
Paul: 6 Pts, 12 Ast
Westbrook: 23 Pts, 8-18 FG
Suns outscore Lakers 35-22 in 3Q – 12:20 AM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
#Suns 63 #Lakers 58 Half.
PHX: Booker 16.
Ayton 14 and 7.
LAL: Westbrook 18.
Davis 12 and 5.
#Suns win eliminates #Lakers from play-in/playoffs. pic.twitter.com/DydS8OoyUG11:45 PM

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha
Halftime: Suns 63, Lakers 58
The Suns closed the first half on a 15-8 run. Russell Westbrook has 18 points but 0 assists and 5 turnovers. Anthony Davis has 12 points and 5 rebounds. The Lakers are 18-19 at the FT line, which has kept them in this game. – 11:43 PM

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter
LAL head into the half trailing 63-58, having led for much of the game prior to a late 2nd Q 11-0 run from the home team.
Davis had 12 points and 5 boards, and Westbrook 18 points on 6 of 11 FG’s. – 11:42 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
Halftime: PHX 63, LAL 58
Booker: 16 Pts, 5 Reb, 6-13 FG
Ayton: 14 Pts, 7 Reb, 6-8 FG
Cam Johnson: 7 Pts, 2-2 3P
Westbrook: 18 Pts, 6-11 FG – 11:41 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Bridges around Davis.’
Westbrook answer.
#Suns up 61-56. – 11:40 PM

Kamenetzky Brothers @KamBrothers
The previous three possessions before getting to the line will not end up taped to Westbrook’s metaphorical fridge. AK – 11:39 PM

Brad Botkin @bradbotkincbs
Imagine the Live odds you could get if you could freeze time the moment the ball leaves Westbrook’s hands from 3 and place a make-or-miss bet – 11:38 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Westbrook turnover trying to find Davis for a lob with bodies around Davis.
Goes the other way and Ayton scores on a knuckleball jump hook.
#Suns up two with 3:27 left in half. – 11:32 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Westbrook back-to-back buckets. Has 14.
Tie game. #Suns #LakeShow11:30 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Booker 3 over Westbrook.
#Suns up two. – 11:28 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Payne high off glass over Davis.
Westbrook called for offensive foul on other end.
#Suns down three with 8:41 left in 1st half. – 11:18 PM

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha
First quarter: Lakers 31, Suns 28
A respectable first quarter from LA. Dwight Howard leads them w/ 8 pts and 6 rebs. Russell Westbrook has 6 pts. Anthony Davis has 4 pts and 4 rebs. The Lakers are winning the 3PT and FT battles early. Austin Reaves is back in the rotation. – 11:12 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Former teammates Payne and Westbrook tangled up.
Westbrook hearing the boos.
Misses first FT.
Hits 2nd FT.
#Suns down four late in 1st – 11:07 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Paul pull up.
Westbrook 3 answer.
#Suns down 15-8. – 10:48 PM

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha
Lakers’ starters in Phoenix:
Dwight Howard
Anthony Davis
Malik Monk
Avery Bradley
Russell Westbrook – 10:05 PM

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter
Westbrook, Bradley, Monk, Davis and Howard will start tonight at Phoenix. – 10:01 PM

StatMuse @statmuse
40/10 games in a season since merger:
12 — Moses Malone (1982)
12 — Russell Westbrook (2017)
12 — Joel Embiid (this season)
The first two names won MVP that season. pic.twitter.com/QkrV9kXuBN9:23 PM

Mark Haynes @markhaynesnba
Damion Lee talked about what the team worked on in practice.
“Did you see that interview like nine years ago when all Westbrook said was good execution? Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to get, just good execution.” – 4:14 PM

StatMuse @statmuse
Players in the last 5 years with over 2,700 points + assists in a season:
Trae Young (2022)
James Harden (3x)
LeBron James (2018)
Russell Westbrook (2018)
Trae is 1st in total assists (692) and 2nd in total points (2,036) this season. pic.twitter.com/RtkQddAsr53:35 PM

Kurt Helin @basketballtalk
Magic Johnson says he wanted DeRozan on Lakers, LeBron pushed for Westbrook nba.nbcsports.com/2022/04/05/mag…9:01 AM

More on this storyline

Jake Fischer: The Rockets, from my understanding, have some type of belief that Russ would be more willing to accept the buyout. -via marcstein.substack.com / March 26, 2022

Jousting with reporters in press conferences is apparently not the lone source of pushback these days from under-fire guard Russell Westbrook. There has been no shortage of defiance behind the scenes, I’m told, when coaches and teammates have tried to broach changes in role or approach with the former MVP. For all the obvious complexities involved in trying to move Westbrook when he’s owed a whopping $47 million next season at age 34, one league source described the idea of bringing him back next season as “impossible” based on current tension levels. The question then becomes: If the Lakers can’t construct a palatable trade, do they try to just buy Westbrook out? Or waive and stretch him? -via marcstein.substack.com / March 5, 2022

LeBron James was a strong advocate for the trade that brought Westbrook to Hollywood and thus has to wear his considerable slice of culpability for how poorly things are working out. Yet one source did point out at least one counter on James’ behalf, noting that he was also one of the organization’s staunchest Alex Caruso fans and badly wanted the Lakers to re-sign the defensive-minded guard. The Lakers, despite all of their considerable revenue streams, refused to offer a contract on par with the four-year, $37 million deal Caruso landed from Chicago because of the luxury-tax implications. The injuries that have limited Davis to 37 games have done the most damage to the Lakers’ 17th-ranked defense, but Caruso’s departure was another big hit. 1:28 -via marcstein.substack.com / March 5, 2022