Russell Westbrook’s future with the Lakers becomes more uncertain after the Patrick Beverly deal

Kyrie Irving’s trade speculation may be off (for now), but that doesn’t mean that Los Angeles LakersThe war drama has come to an end. Thursday, the Lakers Acquire Veteran Defensive Pest Patrick Beverlywhich led to speculation about the status of the beleaguered nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook going forward.

It’s no secret that the Lakers have been looking into trades involving Westbrook for some time, with multiple reports that potential deals have been squashed due to the Lakers’ unwillingness to include one or both of their available future picks in the first round. With Irving off the table, it seemed reasonable for the team to enter a training camp with Westbrook as the starting point guard. Darvin Hamm, New Lakers coach, has already discussed a New offensive vision For the previous MVP that included shooting more triple angle indicators.

However, Beverley’s addition brings back questions about Westbrook’s future with the Lakers. Trading it remains the preferred option, but if they can’t find one, what happens next? Up to this point there have been conflicting reports about such a scenario.

Westbrook could simply be sent away from the team, According to Jovan Boha of Athletic.

“Beverly’s arrival increases the likelihood that Westbrook will be left off the active roster with the start of training camp, either through trade or sending the team home at La The Rockets with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation.”

Other sources have indicated that the Lakers are not inclined to go this route and that Hamm is “determined” to find a way to use Westbrook, According to Mark Stein.

I also hear that if no trades Westbrook is involved in materialize and if he’s on the list when the Lakers start training on September 27th, new Lakers coach Darvin Hamm remains determined to play a real Westbrook. Sources say the Lakers, so far, have fiercely resisted the idea of ​​leaving Westbrook shelved entirely until they can find a deal for him like the Rockets tried last season with John Wall — even after trading with longtime Westbrook opponent Patrick Beverly. Westbrook, who will turn 34 in November, appeared in 78 of the Lakers’ 82 games last season.

Beverley is a serviceable starting point guard who will likely add some daring to a Lakers defense that dropped from the NBA’s best in 2020-21 all the way to 21 last season. Westbrook was one of the league’s worst offensive players last season in terms of efficiency — 0.844 points per possession were last placed for any player with at least 1,000 possessions, according to Synergy Sports — but if he’s willing to accept a new role under important supervision, It probably offers much more offensive dynamism and firepower than Beverly’s.

However, predictions from SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh says the Lakers will be much better in 2022-23 without Westbrook, even without any pieces returning in the trade.

with Westbrook

45.4

66.1%

8.8%

4.8%

without Westbrook

47.5

76.1%

11.8%

6.3%

difference

2.1

2.6%

3.0%

1.5%

Oh explained: “The sims have a long history of seeing Westbrook as an add-by-subtract case going back to a time when we had OKC improve through several games with Chris Paul and Houston getting worse after trading for Westbrook.”

The fact that the Lakers may be willing to pay Westbrook $47 million to sit at home speaks to the deteriorating relationship between the two parties. Trade is clearly the preferred option – deals include Miles Turner and Body Heald to rebuild Indiana Pacers Comes to mind — but that would almost certainly require the Lakers to turn over at least one of their future picks, especially since Tallinn Horton Tucker, one of their only young assets, went to the Utah Jazz in the Beverly trade.

So far the Lakers haven’t been willing to compromise their future to get Westbrook off the roster, but that could change now that they’ve acquired Beverley and signed LeBron on an extension. Sending Westbrook home will solve the problems conveniently without sacrificing any future assets. However, proceeding with such a drastic measure is not a simple decision, and Hamm does not seem inclined to press that button without at least an effort in training camp.

Whatever happens over the next month, Westbrook’s position will be one of the biggest stories in the league heading into training camp.

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