The NBA rumors of LeBron James heading to the Lakers in 2018 remain strong and now there is a belief that Russell Westbrook could join LeBron in Los Angeles next summer.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus confirmed our long-held thoughts that Westbrook could be eyeing a move to his native LA by writing the following:
“Whispers around the NBA suggest James would love to team up with the explosive guard. How would teams defend two triple-double powerhouses like James and Westbrook? On most nights, they don’t … That said, when asked, various NBA executives believe Westbrook will eventually sign his deal with the Thunder. [Paul] George may be more attainable, especially with the Lakers essentially off the hook for the tampering charge levied by the Pacers.”
Westbrook has until Oct. 16 to sign his max deal with the Thunder, but there are obviously a lot of anxious Thunder fans right now asking the question, “Why hasn’t he signed the damn thing yet?!”
Oklahoma City opens training camp on Sept. 26 and if Westbrook hasn’t put a pen to paper on a deal that would make him the highest paid player in the NBA by then, panic will ensue along the Bible Belt.
ESPN’s Royce Young recently spoke on Westbrook’s situation and gave the vaguest of all answers: “According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Westbrook hasn’t delivered an official answer – either a yes or a no.”
The Lakers would have to clear out an incredible amount of cap room in 2018 (think Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, among others) to even entertain signing both LeBron and Westbrook – arguably the two best players in the NBA. But it can be done.
Westbrook does not seem money-driven at this point in his career, so it could wind up that he takes a deal like Kevin Durant did with Golden State this summer if it means a shot at building a superteam with LeBron.
Adding to the Westbrook to the Lakers drama, is the scary reality that George could also wind up in LA (out of Westbrook, LeBron and George, George is still the most likely player to land there). Would all three players do short-term, Durant-like deals in order to challenge the Warriors? As we’ve learned in the past two NBA off-seasons, anything is possible.