Latest Lakers rumor showcases how desperate Russell Westbrook is

Jan 27, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) sits on the court after falling during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 27, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) sits on the court after falling during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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The NFL season has officially kicked off, which means the start of the NBA is right around the corner. With each week that passes, it becomes more and more likely Russell Westbrook starts the year as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Trading Westbrook was always going to be complicated due to his colossal contract and rapidly declining effectiveness, but the likelihood worsened after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving recommitted to the Nets after the franchise’s braintrust called Durant’s bluff and convinced him to stay.

Jeanie Buss also didn’t help matters by dubbing Westbrook the Lakers’ best performer last campaign. Any Lakers fans know that isn’t the case, but Buss doubled oddly doubled down on her Westbrook propaganda by sharing her excitement to see all of the team’s stars healthy and on the court at the same time.

Of course, Buss’ comments are music to the ears of Westbrook, who would (obviously) prefer to stay with the Lakers and has been on his best behavior since LA acquired Patrick Beverley from the Jazz, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Russell Westbrook’s desperation to stay with the Lakers is showing.

“Russell Westbrook does not want to be traded,” Windhorst reported. “Because if he gets traded he is probably going to get cut and it’s going to be difficult. He wants to be in LA, so they’re on their best behavior.”

Why else would Westbrook show up to Beverley’s introductory press conference? It’s no secret that Westbrook and Beverley are mortal enemies (go look up their history of on- and off-court kerfuffles over the years).

Westbrook knows his best chance of sticking around on the Lakers is getting along with Beverley. If that means putting on a brave face and letting bygones be bygones, that’s what he’s going to do … even if it’s a little awkward for both parties.

The Lakers’ best chance of offloading Westbrook might be hoping a potential new buyer emerges during the upcoming season. The Myles Turner-Buddy Hield rumors have flamed out, and the San Antonio Spurs aren’t going to consider bailing out Los Angeles if the latter isn’t willing to attach a first-round pick in trade talks.

Who knows? Maybe Westbrook goes on a redemption tour for the ages and improves his standing around the league to the point where teams actually entertain the idea of acquiring him to be a role player.

Right now, though, it seems like teams are scoffing at the idea and this latest rumor proves Westbrook would do just about anything to continue repping the purple and gold. Can’t say we blame him, because he won’t find a better destination if he’s eventually traded and bought out by the team that acquires him.