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Report: Russell Westbrook never asked for a trade from Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers v LA Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the LA Clippers on February 3, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Russell Westbrook and his agent since he entered the NBA 14 years ago, Thad Foucher from Wasserman, have parted ways over “irreconcilable differences” in where they see Westbrook’s future.

According to Foucher’s statement to ESPN, the differences were he wanted Westbrook to “stay with the Lakers, embrace the starting role and support that Darvin Ham publicly offered.” By implication, Westbrook wanted out.

However, Westbrook never asked for a trade from the Lakers, reports Dan Woike and Brodrick Turner at the Los Angeles Times.

Additional sources told The Times that the decision to split with Foucher had “nothing to do with the Lakers.”

Even Westbrook owns that this was about the Lakers.

Westbrook may not have formally asked for a trade, but did he have to? The Lakers have looked for a Westbrook trade all offseason, whether he asked or not. There’s just not much of a market.

Westbrook opted into the $47.1 million final season of his contract, but because of that massive deal the Lakers have to attach one of their first-round picks (2027 and 2029) to get any trade done, and possibly both in a big deal to get someone such as Kyrie Irving.

Westbrook still has value on the court, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assist a night last season. However, those are more volume numbers. His shot selection is questionable and he’s not efficient as a shooter (29.8% from 3 last season and had a true shooting percentage of .512, well below the league average), and there are questions about his willingness to play within a team’s system. He’s also a defensive liability. Westbrook can still help a lot of teams in the right role, but that $47 million payday has teams thinking they can fill that role more cheaply. Which is where those Lakers picks come into the picture.

Whether Westbrook changing agents is about finding a trade or not does not change the market for his services. Which is both limited and involves the Lakers giving up picks.