Report: Teams asking Lakers for 1st-rounder in Westbrook trade talks
Potential trade partners for Russell Westbrook are driving a hard bargain in negotiations.
Teams are demanding at least one future first-round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers in order to assume the remaining $47 million on Westbrook's contract if he exercises his player option for next season, sources told The Athletic's Jovan Buha.
However, the Lakers have reportedly ruled out the notion of sacrificing a first-rounder to offload the massive deal.
It's unclear which clubs recently discussed acquiring Westbrook, though it isn't the first time the Lakers have apparently contemplated the inclusion of draft picks in a potential trade. During reported negotiations with the Rockets in January, Houston apparently would have swapped John Wall for Westbrook if Los Angeles tossed in their 2027 first-rounder.
Some members of the Lakers' organization are reportedly open to bringing back the former MVP next season, believing they can remedy his struggles with a new coach and retooled roster.
Westbrook, 33, fell short of expectations in his debut season with the Lakers after they parted with Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to acquire him from the Washington Wizards in a draft-day multi-team swap last year.
The nine-time All-Star put up 18.5 points per game - his worst mark since his sophomore year - along with 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game as Los Angeles went 33-49 and missed the playoffs. After the season, Westbrook remarked he was "never given a fair chance" in L.A. and said it "wasn't true" that he could play like his usual self with James and Davis.
Westbrook also admitted he didn't fully get along with former head coach Frank Vogel, who began benching the guard for extended fourth-quarter minutes midway through the season. The Lakers fired Vogel on April 11 - a day after the end of their season - reportedly due in part to Westbrook's unsuccessful integration into the roster.
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