With the Lakers unable to find a deal for Westbrook that will make them a contender, the All-Star guard is “highly likely to remain,” per The Athletic. They don't want to give up any of their 2027 and 2029 first round picks as well, which makes moving the explosive triple-double machine nearly impossible.
The question now, however, is what role Westbrook will play with the Lakers in 2022-23. After trading for Patrick Beverley and recently signing Dennis Schroder, the team now has two guards who can replace him in the starting lineup.
Of course the said moves fueled talks about Westbrook getting traded, but if the Lakers really end up keeping him, then they will have to quickly make a decision on how to utilize him.
The Lakers are said to be considering moving him to the bench to lead the second unit, but whether Russell Westbrook accepts that or not remains to be seen. He did seem against the idea of being a bench player when asked about it before, so that's something that the team has to handle and address soon.
In recent weeks, the Lakers have shown signs that they are fully ready to have Westbrook back despite the experiment failing in the first year of their partnership. Darvin Ham even mentioned how he plans to play Russ and Pat Bev together. With that said, it shouldn't be a surprise to hear that there's a high chance he returns. Still, it's hard to see the whole LA faithful embracing the superstar after the forgettable experience they had.