Lakers confident Russell Westbrook will demand trade to LA after signing $85 million contract with Oklahoma City
LOS ANGELES — Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook agreed to a three-year, $85.7 million contract extension with the Thunder on Wednesday night, a deal the Los Angeles Lakers feel is just the latest sign he wants to become a Laker.
“This is a sign-and-trade-demand-to-the-Lakers if I’ve ever seen it,” said a Lakers front office source. “Sure, he could have demanded to be traded to us now with just one year left on his deal, but he wanted to lock himself into a longer contract first so now when he’s traded, he gets to live out his dream of playing for the Lakers for even longer. It’s perfectly orchestrated.”
Another source in Lakers ownership said that they appreciated Westbrook taking a bit of a discount deal compared to the $30 million a year point guard Mike Conley got from the Lakers.
“He’s leaving us cap room in order to bring in other players as we form our next dynasty,” said the source. “Will it be enough to sign LeBron James, who — it may be news to a lot of people — is still a free agent? I think it could be. LeBron, Russell Westbrook and the young guys we have in place? We could win a championship this year.”
Until that happens, the Lakers say they will be patience.
“Thunder fans are still hurt about Kevin Durant leaving,” said a Lakers staffer. “So he may wait a little bit to demand his trade here. He might even deny he wants to be traded here for now to throw everyone off the scent. For now, we’ll just wait and prepare the championship parade route.”