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Don’t expect Lakers’ Russell Westbrook trade at deadline

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Kurt Helin and Corey Robinson discuss the NBA revamping its award names and designs as well as the disagreements incited in the process.

There are 47 million reasons why it was always unlikely the Lakers would trade Russell Westbrook at the NBA trade deadline in February.

However, after his recent solid play as the team’s sixth man, the Lakers aren’t really looking to trade Westbrook, reports Sam Amick at The Athletic.

According to a source with knowledge of the Lakers’ plans, Westbrook’s play this past month has made it increasingly unlikely that he will be traded before the league’s Feb. 9 deadline. Since becoming a sixth man on Oct. 28, the 34-year-old, who is in the final year of his (massive) contract, has averaged 15.2 points, 7.9 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 turnovers and 28.2 minutes.

Westbrook’s play off the bench is not a panacea for the Lakers — the Lakers still have a -3.4 net rating when Westbrook is on the floor as a sixth man, Amick notes — but it takes some of the urgency of trying to trade him away. The Lakers would still send Westbrook out in a heartbeat as part of the right trade (Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan from the Bulls, but even with a couple of first-round picks it’s hard to imagine why the Bulls make that deal). What’s changed is the pressure to find a trade is off.

The Lakers are more likely to trade some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-round pick for a player — specifically a shooter — who can help their rotation right now. Ideally that would be the Pistons’ Bojan Bogdanovic, but that pick would have to be unprotected even to start the conversation with Detroit, who has multiple suitors and still may hold on to Bogdanovic anyway. Vucevic from Chicago, Eric Gordon from Houston, Josh Richardson and/or Doug McDermott from the Spurs, or Terry Rozier from the Hornets seem more realistic trade targets.

The Lakers are incredibly active as buyers at the trade deadline, expect them to make a move. Just expect it to be a shooter to help shore up the current rotation, not a blockbuster that moves the Lakers into the upper echelons of the West.