basketball

Report: Trade talks between Spurs and Lakers involving Russell Westbrook are ‘still alive’

The possibility of Russell Westbrook’s involvement in a trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio reportedly still exists, according to a new report.

LJ Ellis of SpursTalk.com looked at possible deals the Spurs could potentially make and noted the Lakers’ interest in three players.

“Interestingly, a team insider says that talks between the Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers that involve Russell Westbrook are still alive,” Ellis wrote. “Those talks have been on the back burner for a couple months but I’ve been told that both the Lakers and Spurs remain open to the possibility depending on how the next two weeks play out prior to the trade deadline.

In addition to Poeltl, the Lakers are said to be interested in Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott.

Westbrook is in the final year of his massive deal, and efforts by the Lakers to trade him during the past year have continually come up short. Earlier this season, McDermott and Richardson were mentioned in trade rumours.

When the Lakers acquired Westbrook in a blockbuster deal in 2021, the expectation was that he’d be a central piece of the team’s quest for another title. Those expectations quickly diminished when chemistry issues involving the team’s lineup and injuries turned the Lakers into a struggling franchise.

This season, Westbrook has come off the bench in 41 of the 44 games this season and is averaging 15.9 points, 7.6 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Poeltl is 27 years old and was taken by the Toronto Raptors with the ninth overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. Two years later, he and DeMar DeRozan were dealt to the Spurs in the blockbuster deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors.

Now in his seventh NBA season, the 7-foot-1 Poeltl is averaging 12.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. During the past two seasons, Poeltl has come close to averaging a double-double, which is why the Lakers and other teams have reportedly been interested about his availability.

Richardson is a 29-year-old guard and is currently playing for his fifth different NBA team. This season, he’s averaging 11.4 points, 3.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

The 31-year-old McDermott is a small forward who’s also moved around, with the Spurs being his sixth different team. This season, he’s come off the bench in each of his 40 appearances and is averaging 10.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

In the case of Richardson and McDermott, the Spurs reportedly have no intention of simply letting either player go for a limited return. Ellis reports that the Spurs are seeking a first-round pick for Richardson and “something of value” for McDermott.

The Spurs are currently in the midst of rebuilding their franchise, so acquiring Westbrook would not be part of any long-term strategy. If the Spurs did acquire him, shedding his massive salary at the end of the season would free up money for the free agent market.

The NBA trade deadline is coming up soon on Feb. 9, so trade talks involving the players mentioned would need to pick up if interest on both sides continues.


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