Rumor roundup: Lakers plan to keep Russ, LeBron James wanted DeMar DeRozan


The Lakers are heading into a major offseason, potentially looking to undo a lot of what they did in the last one. As bad as Russell Westbrook’s experience in Los Angeles may have been, DeMar DeRozan, one of his supposed alternatives, is coming off a yearlong career in Chicago.

Those two players are the main subjects of the latest reports and headlines.

Russell Westbrook will return to racing in Los Angeles

While not necessarily a new story, another report surfaced regarding the Lakers’ intentions for Russell Westbrook next season. The tides continue to change from early in the low season as Eric Pincus from Bleacher Report reported that the franchise is giving signs that Westbrook will be a Laker next season.

Will health and a coaching change be enough for the Los Angeles Lakers to bounce back from a disastrous season? We may find out soon enough, as sources close to the team, along with several competition executives, believe the Lakers are operating as if Russell Westbrook is on the roster to start next season.

The biggest difference in Pincus’ reporting is that it includes sources outside of the Lakers. Opposing teams are beginning to believe the Lakers are keeping Westbrook, which is either solidifying his influence or cementing his questionable decision.

Other than that, none of this is different from the report that came out on Sunday from Kyle Goon of The OC registration. The Lakers are making their stated intentions pretty clear, and now it’s a waiting game to understand the intended end of those projections.

LeBron James really wanted DeMar DeRozan

There has been nothing dumber after last season than seeing the Lakers and Klutch Sports blame each other for the Russell Westbrook situation. By the time the deal was done, everyone was raving about it and taking joint credit.

Now, no one wants to be a part of that. The latest example comes from the most recent podcast episode of “Nude with Cari Champion” in which he discussed meeting LeBron last offseason.

To be fair, LeBron and Klutch probably didn’t specifically tell anyone to republish this story. But that doesn’t change the general point that both sides have made sure they have outlets to absolve themselves of blame.

The front office has blamed pressure from Klutch as the reason the deal was made. Klutch has repeatedly mentioned DeMar DeRozan as someone they were targeting. It’s a silly game where both sides are to blame, and pointing fingers after the fact doesn’t fix the problem.

One less commercial suitor from Westbrook?

On Monday, the Thunder traded for JaMychal Green, using his cap space to take on his salary while trading some draft picks. How does this relate to the Lakers?

Well, Oklahoma City was an intriguing potential landing spot for Russell Westbrook because of his ability to absorb his salary into his cap space without needing to send out equivalent contracts. Ruling Russ without taking on the incoming money would have given the Lakers a lot more cap space and a big trade exception. But this trade for Green means there’s no longer enough cap space to make that trade.

Technically, there is a small window in which the Thunder could add Green’s contract in a trade, but given all the signs the Lakers have given — literally the first section of this rundown — it’s unlikely they’re really prepared to move fast enough to do so.

OKC was always more of a theoretical trade destination and not one that had actually been mentioned in the rumor mill, but this confirms that any trade the Lakers make for Russ will see them win back major contracts.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast at itunes, Spotify, stapler either Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.




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