Russell Westbrook has been on a roll of late. He served as a spark for the Los Angeles Lakers yet again on Monday and the former league MVP proved to be a bright spot for his team amid their devastating last-second loss to the Indiana Pacers.
This has been the trend for Russ over the past several weeks. He’s fully embraced his role off the bench for the Lakers and it has worked wonders for him. So much so, that it now sounds like the front office might be pulling back on their decision to trade him away.
According to NBA insider Jovan Buha of The Athletic, LA might now be more inclined to trade Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn over Westbrook:
“So I think looking at Pat and Kendrick specifically, those have been the two names that have come up a lot in potential deals where the Lakers could package those guys together and get to about $20 million combined and then you throw in a first-round pick potentially, and all of sudden there are a lot of options where you get upwards of $22-25 million back in salary and throw in a pick and maybe you get a high-level starter or two coming back the other way if its a rebuilding team that’s looking to shed some salary,” Buha said on a recent episode of ESPN LA’s Lakers Talk radio program.
“… They’re leaning more towards a smaller move of a Pat or a Kendrick, or both, but I think really the next 5-10 games are going to determine what they do.”
If you really think about it, this actually makes a lot of sense. If Westbrook keeps on playing like this then he could play a key role for the Lakers the rest of the way. On the other hand, Kendrick Nunn has been a bit of an afterthought for LA, and he clearly hasn’t been able to live up to the hype that was brought about by his season-long injury absence last year. Patrick Beverley has been solid defensively, as expected, but he hasn’t made a significant impact anywhere else — at least in the basketball sense.
As Buha said, however, a lot will be riding for the Lakers in the next couple of weeks. They’re facing a fork in the road right now, and how much success — or the lack thereof — they have in their next games should determine which direction they will be going for the remainder of the season.