The Times confirmed Westbrook’s split with Wasserman’s Thad Foucher. Fouche has represented the 33-year-old Westbrook throughout his NBA career.
In a statement to ESPN, Fouche said the reason for the split with Westbrook was “irreconcilable differences.” Fouche also told ESPN that “Westbrook’s best option is to stay with the Lakers, accept the starting role and support Darwin Ham publicly offered.
Multiple sources familiar with the mindset of Westbrook and the Lakers told The Times that Westbrook never asked for a trade. At the start of this offseason, took part last year his contract, which will earn him $47 million next season.
Additional sources told The Times that the decision to part ways with Fouche “had nothing to do with the Lakers.”
The Times attempted to contact Fouche, but no messages were returned.
However, relations between the Lakers and Westbrook seemed extremely strained this offseason. He attended the opening of the Lakers summer league in Las Vegas, but he LeBron Jameswho was also there, not talking, which was a stark contrast to their life together the previous summer.
The awkwardness was noted in all NBA circles, with the firm belief that the Lakers’ biggest stars were pushing the team to trade for Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.
Some players remain optimistic that a deal for Irving can be made.
And while Westbrook never officially asked to be handed out, the new situation could benefit the nine-time All-Star after the Lakers’ disastrous turnaround.
However, the confusion of the situation only makes matters worse for the Lakers, who end the season 33-49.
Westbrook has been the subject of trade rumors since the middle of last season, when his partnership with James and Anthony Davis never resulted in consistent wins, and a combination of injuries and poor performance among the stars eventually saw the Lakers miss the playoffs.
The team has discussed Westbrook in NBA trade iterations, although there is no real market for the former league MVP with his $47 million price tag.
In a statement to ESPN that competitors’ agents described as unusual, Fouche said the deal would undoubtedly hurt Westbrook’s value in the long run.
“Now, with the possibility of a fourth trade in four years, the market is telling the Lakers they need to add value to Russell in any trade scenario. And even then, such a deal could require Russell to immediately leave the new team through a buyout,” Fouche said in a statement. “I believe that this type of deal only reduces the value of Russell and his best option is to stay with the Lakers, accept the starting role and support that Darwin Ham has publicly offered. Russell is the No. 1 Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and will prove it one more time before he retires.
“Unfortunately, there are irreconcilable differences regarding his best path forward and we no longer work together. I wish Russell and his family all the best.”
Last season, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 78 games.
Since being hired to coach the Lakers in late May, Ham has publicly praised Westbrook, who attended Ham’s introductory press conference.
“Don’t get confused. Russell is one of the best players our league has ever seen,” Ham said when he was introduced. “And there’s still a ton left in this tank. I don’t know why people keep trying to write him off.”