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Los Angeles Lakers rumors: Latest news on Lakers coaching search, free agency

Los Angeles Lakers rumors
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2021-’22 season with expectations and ended it without even earning a spot in the play-in tournament. It’s now time for the offseason with a Lakers coaching search and NBA trade rumors among the top storylines.

Significant changes are needed in Los Angeles. An aging roster built around an injury-plagued Anthony Davis and a 37-year-old LeBron James backfired in epic fashion. With general manager Rob Pelinka and key decision-makers in the front office staying put, the Lakers roster and coaching staff will experience the most overhaul this summer.

  • Los Angeles Lakers record: 33-49, 11th in Western Conference

It starts at the top with the coaching search. Following an extensive process, Darvin Ham is taking over as Lakers’ head coach. Of course, hiring Ham is only the first step in what could be a wild offseason in Los Angeles.

If a coaching search wasn’t enough for one offseason, Los Angeles must also figure out what it can do with Russell Westbrook. Separation needs to happen, it’s only a matter of biting the financial bullet by waiving him or trading one problem for another via trade.

Bookmark this page for the latest Lakers rumors and analysis on everything that goes down this offseason.

Related: Best Los Angeles Lakers coaching candidates

Russell Westbrook to play for Los Angles Lakers next season?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Russell Westbrook felt like an inevitability this summer for the Los Angeles Lakers. It seems that is no longer the case. As part of the team’s ongoing coaching search, candidates are each being asked about how they would use the All-Star guard next season. It’s part of the reason why there is an increasing belief he stays in Los Angeles, as we dive into further at the link below.

Phil Jackson wants a LeBron James trade, wants to keep Russell Westbrook

NBA: Washington Wizards at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have been critiqued for having too many voices in the front office over the last few years. It seems to be an issue once again. Both Phil Jackson and Magic Johnson are reportedly having input in offseason decisions.

During an appearance on the Doug Gottlieb Show, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times said he heard a rumor that Jackson wants to trade LeBron James this offseason and believes the Lakers should keep Westbrook to try and make it work.

It’s important to note something from Plaschke’s comments. He also noted he wasn’t able to verify the speculation and just overheard it inside the organization. It also seems unlikely that Los Angeles would trade LeBron purely on the wishes of Jackson.

Lakers put pressure on Frank Vogel to make Russell Westbrook experiment work

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone outside Los Angeles knew Russell Westbrook’s time with the Lakers wouldn’t end well. However, the franchise was desperate to see it through. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there was a strong sense in the NBA that “it was on Vogel to make the Westbrook experiment work.” Ultimately, it failed and now both men will be with other NBA teams for the 2022-’23 season.

LeBron James contract extension not imminent, future uncertain

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Since signing LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers have experienced mixed results. While the franchise’s title drought came to an end, consecutive seasons of massive disappointment have raised questions about the future.

While LeBron is eligible for a contract extension this summer, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reports the future Hall of Famer hasn’t even talked about the matter with Klutch Sports. it’s worth noting that the Lakers couldn’t go through with a deal until August, but LeBron’s comments in recent months do suggest this could be his final year in Los Angeles.

John Wall not on Lakers’ radar

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Before the NBA trade deadline last year, plenty of Lakers rumors suggested a John Wall for Russell Westbrook trade might be possible. According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, neither side was ever particularly interested in it. The Houston Rockets insisted on the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick being attached and Los Angeles refused. Meanwhile, the Lakers don’t want a player who everyone around the NBA knows will get a buyout this summer.

LeBron James offers to provide input for Los Angeles Lakers offseason moves

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

A year after he played a crucial role in the team backing out on the Buddy Hield deal to acquire Russell Westbrook, LeBron James is again offering his input to the front office if they are interested.

“If they ask me my opinion then I’ll give my opinion, but at the end of the day they’re going to make the decisions that they feel are best for the franchise.”

LeBron James, via Silver Screen and Roll

It would be a surprise if Lakers’ management didn’t reach out to LeBron for his input on roster and coaching decisions. Keep in mind, the franchise plans to offer him a contract extension this offseason and making him feel like he is involved with front-office decisions might influence him to stay. Whether or not that approach is the right one to take is up for debate.

Russell Westbrook trade value ‘extremely negative’

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the Lakers desperately want to move off from Russell Westbrook this summer, it’s already proving to be a challenge. Details on how other NBA teams view him paint a clear picture, Westbrook is one of the most unwanted players in the NBA. Michael Scotto, HoopsHype’s NBA insider, spoke to a league executive who made it clear that any team acquiring the former All-Star point guard is simply not attractive to a majority of the league.

“Right now, his trade value is extremely negative. All it takes, however, is one team to be desperate to add talent and have bad contracts to make it happen. The reality is that 95 percent of teams view that as a terrible contract right now. They’re not doing that unless they’re dumping a bunch of stuff.”

NBA insider Michael Scotto via The HoopsHype podcast

Russell Westbrook for Gordan Hayward trade ‘unlikely’ for Los Angeles Lakers

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles will have very few options when it comes to a Westbrook trade. One idea thrown around the NBA linked a deal to the Charlotte Hornets with Gordon Hayward headed the other way. However, NBA insider Marc Stein shared this weekend that the Lakers are “unlikely” to have interest in a deal with Charlotte if it means taking on Hayward’s contract. The 32-year-old forward is owed a combined $31.575 million over the next two years.

Carmelo Anthony is uncertain on returning to Lakers

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony signed with the Los Angeles Lakers hoping to compete for a championship. Instead, he experienced some of the same dysfunction he went through with the New York Knicks. Across 69 games (66 off the bench), Anthony averaged 13.3 points and shot 37.5% from behind the three-point line.

“I haven’t thought about next season at this point. I’m speaking very truthful and honest here. I haven’t even started thinking about my decision about next season, or what’s gonna happen, or where I’m at.”

Carmelo Anthony on whether or not he’ll return to Los Angeles Lakers, via Harrison Faigen

Given that is no longer pursuing a ring, Anthony could wind up anywhere. Ultimately, a return to Los Angeles seems unlikely with other teams offering him opportunities for minutes in a more relaxed atmosphere. Heading into his age-38 season, this will likely be the last year in Anthony’s NBA career.

  • Los Angeles Lakers cap space: -$41.99 million

Los Angeles Lakers draft picks

  • 2022: NONE
  • 2023: LAL 1st round pick (New Orleans Pelicans own swap rights) and LAL 2nd, CHI 2nd
  • 2024: LAL 1st (Pelicans hold rights to take 2024 1st or 2025 LAL 1st), MEM/WAS 2nd
  • 2025: LAL 1st (Pelicans’ rights based on 2024 decision)
  • 2026: LAL 1st
  • 2027: LAL 1st, LAL 2nd

Due to NBA rules barring teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years, the 2027 first-round pick is the only first-round selection the Lakers can currently put in a trade offer.

Lakers rumors: Russell Westbrook’s future in Los Angeles

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers would love nothing more than to rid themselves of Westbrook. The 2021 trade for the All-Star point guard yielded the results everyone, except the team itself, saw coming. Once Westbrook exercises his $47.063 million player option, everyone will be looking for a way to get him out of the building.

The Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers are two teams to watch for a potential trade. However, the 33-year-old point guard carries minimal value even on an expiring contract. If the Lakers need to give up one of their few remaining assets or take on bad contracts that stretch multiple seasons, waiving Westbrook is on the table.