NBA News: Lakers Could Have Chemistry Issues Between LeBron James And Russell Westbrook

LeBron James
Wikimedia | Sportzeditz

Ernesto Cova

The Los Angeles Lakers made a big gamble when they traded for Russell Westbrook. Recent history made it a questionable decision, but they hoped that stacking talent would put them in a position to succeed.

Fast-forward to today, Russ is the odd man out in the locker room. He's been involved in trade rumors for months now and is looking forward to a fresh start.

Westbrook Knows They Don't Want Him

Russell Westbrook
Wikimedia | Doppelganger.decoy

That's why NBA insider Marc Stein believes the Lakers need to part ways with him ASAP. Westbrook knows the Lakers are shopping him, so things could get ugly in the locker room:

“(Darvin) Ham is going to have to coach Westbrook, which is bound to be challenging in the extreme given that Westbrook is well aware that the Lakers have been trying hard to move him. And that James badly wants (Kyrie) Irving to take his place," Stein wrote.

James And Westbrook Aren't On Good Terms

Russell Westbrook
Wikimedia | Bagumba

James and Westbrook aren't on the best terms right now. Westbrook is aware of the fact that LeBron is behind the Lakers' efforts to land Kyrie:

“LeBron's relationship with Russ isn't the best, according to reports, and James' desire to reunite with Kyrie has played a big role in that," Stein wrote. "The King knows the Lakers need to make some changes to be competitive and, just like the fanbase, he's convinced that moving Russ is crucial for their title aspirations.”

James Wants To Play With Kyrie

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
Giphy | NBA

Notably, things aren't likely to get better between them any time soon. James is still pushing the team to trade for Kyrie Irving, which has affected their relationship. If anything, it could only get worse:

"LeBron James still 'badly' wants Kyrie Irving to take Russell Westbrook’s place on the Lakers," Stein added.

Something's Gotta Give

Russell Westbrook
Wikimedia | Denniscabrams

Notably, the only thing standing in the way of a Kyrie-Westbrook swap is Rob Pelinka's reluctance to trade two first-round picks to get it done. But how else does he expect to move a $47 million expiring contract of a player who refuses to be held accountable?

The Lakers are stuck with Westbrook unless they move those picks; it's as simple as that. The rest of the league knows it, and no one will do them any favors, especially when we're talking about that much money.

So, unless Kyrie pulls off a big power move and forces his way out of Brooklyn, the Lakers will have to swallow a tough pill and give up those picks.