In search of a Russell Westbrook trade, the Lakers aren’t simply looking to offload his salary. Instead, the team is looking for ways to use Westbrook’s expiring deal as an asset to improve their roster.
Will it work, and are teams interested? That’s the focus of the latest headlines and rumors.
Targeting Bradley Beal
The Lakers may be employing the strategy of “the worst they can say is no” when it comes to making calls around the league. On his latest episode of “The Void,” which featured Silver Screen & Roll alum Daman Rangoola, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer revealed this tidbit on the Lakers and the star they’re eyeing.
“The one name that I’ve heard recently is Bradley Beal is a guy they want. I’m not sure the interest is as mutual. Beal, it seems Miami would be more of the threat to take him away from Washington. I don’t think you can rule out Boston either because of his relationship with Jayson Tatum. But the Lakers are trying to angle for some moves like that, use the Russ expiring and the 2027 and 2029 firsts.”
To be fair, it can’t hurt to ask. However, you can also expect the Wizards to laugh this one off. Even if Beal demanded his way out, which he has not done, there would be better deals on the table than Russ’ expiring and two picks in the distant future.
Now, that being said...
Wizards search for veteran guard
The Wizards ARE in search of a veteran, proven point guard, according to Marc Stein. The longtime NBA reporter noted in his newsletter on Saturday that the Wizards were looking for a backcourt mate for Beal.
The Wizards, as covered here recently, are open to trading the No. 10 overall pick in their quest for a proven point guard.
Obviously, this runs counter to the idea that the Lakers would be able to secure Beal, but it’s worth noting that the Wizards could barely trade for Russ even if they wanted to. Like the Lakers last season, Washington aggregated its mid-sized contracts into one big one by trading for Kristaps Porzingis, and now, the only way they could theoretically trade for Russ is to include him in the deal.
And if you thought watching Anthony Davis was frustrating, boy would Porzingis be something else. He’s what Lakers fans think AD is. The Lakers’ front court would fire away step-back jumpers and scarcely exert their size in the paint on offense.
Atkinson backs out
One of the three finalists for the Lakers’ head coaching position, Kenny Atkinson, was skipped over for the Lakers role, but had eventually agreed to a deal to become the Hornets next head coach.
The tense is important there. Had.
In a bizarre twist on Saturday, Atkinson backed out of his agreement and will remain with the Warriors as the team’s top assistant.
ESPN Sources: Kenny Atkinson has decided he won’t become the Charlotte Hornets’ head coach and will remain with Golden State as top assistant. After being offered job during the NBA Finals, further conversations led Atkinson to believe it would be best to remain with Warriors.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2022
This doesn’t mean a whole lot to the Lakers, who have their guy, but it is an interesting development at least tangentially related to the Lakers as they move forward looking to fill out their coaching staff this offseason.