Russell Westbrook's rocky relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers took another turn this week.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne said on The Lowe Post podcast Friday that Westbrook would welcome a trade but hasn't asked for one, either.
"Russ is very open to a trade," Shelburne said. "He hasn't asked for a trade. I've been assured of that. But he's open to that, and somebody who wants him and wants to empower him and wants him to be Russell Westbrook of old."
The issue with trading Westbrook is twofold: He's playing some of the worst basketball of his career and the final year of his Lakers contract is worth $47 million after Westbrook opted in this summer.
There has been speculation all offseason about Westbrook's future in Los Angeles after a tumultuous last year with the Lakers. He finished the year with his worst stats since 2009 and didn't seem to mesh well with the Lakers' duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
But even as rumors swirled that the Lakers could swap Westbrook for Kyrie Irving, the Lakers' brains trust of James, general manager Rob Pelinka, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and new head coach Darvin Ham all preached faith in their point guard. Buss at one point called Westbrook the Lakers' "best player last year" before clarifying she meant "consistent." Ham said in July that he had a "clear plan" of how to use Westbrook in his offense, but a report from The Athletic also claimed Ham would have more authority to bench Westbrook .
Complicating things, though, is the Lakers' recent trade for former Utah Jazz guard Patrick Beverley. Though Beverely has butted heads with Westbrook in the past, the new Lakers guard said in his introductory press conference he's "super excited" to play with Westbrook.
"I was asked this question two, three years ago about someone I always wanted to play with and [Westbrook] was the first name," Beverley said on Sept. 7. "I have known Bron since I was a baby, a rookie in this league, so obviously, I want to play with him. But a player with that competitive spirit, that fire, that will, that dog, that nastiness, that grit — to have a running mate like that, I have never had that. So I am super excited to see where it goes."
Beverley may never get the chance to play with Westbrook, though, if the Lakers find a trade partner for the embattled veteran guard. There's a lot of time between now and the Lakers' season opening game against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 18. Anything could happen with Westbrook.