The former MVP gave an impassioned speech to Lakers players prior to the All-Star break, sources told B/R, harping on Los Angeles' need to take a unified direction to their fight for a postseason berth. Westbrook offered similar internal motivations during last season's burst for the 8-seed with Washington.
In any case, there is mutual interest in finding Westbrook a new home this summer, sources said.
The Lakers' trade deadline discussions with the Houston Rockets for a potential Russell Westbrook-John Wall swap didn't generate significant traction, sources said, as the Lakers were resistant to including their 2027 first-round pick in any deal to offload Westbrook's salary.
SOURCE: Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report
ANALYSIS: Fischer adds that "one team strategist told B/R it would require two first-round picks for his front office to take back Westbrook's deal." However, there is some optimism that Westbrook will be easier to move next season once he's on an expiring contract.
This season, Westbrook has struggled mightily for the Lakers, averaging 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 three on .432/.286/.670 shooting splits. Los Angeles is currently 27-34, which is the ninth-best record in the Western Conference.
Westbrook is earning $44,211,146 this season, and he's set to earn $47,063,478 next year.