1. Russell Westbrook’s salary is seriously restricting
This is the main reason why no other teams wanted to trade for Russell Westbrook. There are a lot of teams that could convince themselves that Westbrook would have a positive impact on their team but the price is simply too high. Westbrook is on one of the largest contracts in the sport and thus it is one of the worst contracts.
Westbrook is making $44 million this season and is set to make $47 million next season. He does have a player option in his contract so he could opt-out of his deal after this season but that is definitely not going to happen. Westbrook is not going to opt-out of $47 million so he can sign a deal worth $20-25 million. That would be ludicrous.
That makes it extremely hard for the Lakers to do anything around the “big three”. The team had to bring in mostly veteran minimum players and as is the case with these players, several have been disappointing this season. The depth has not been as advertised.
Heck, the team decided to part ways with Alex Caruso because of his impact on the luxury tax bill if they were to re-sign him. Why is the team so above the luxury tax? Because of Westbrook’s salary, which only grows next season.
There are absolutely no outs in this. If the Lakers are not able to trade Westbrook then they are essentially locking in this year’s team for next season as well.