Don’t Count LA Lakers Out of the Russell Westbrook Hunt Just Yet

The Los Angeles Lakers showed significant vital signs during this year's NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

D'Angelo Russell knocked down clutch shots, commanded L.A.'s offense and poured in 21.8 points per game—all while sporting a peculiar new 'do. Brandon Ingram, the Lakers' latest rookie sensation, showed off a smooth offensive game and strong defensive instincts, especially for an 18-year-old.

Together, Russell and Ingram, along with Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., could form the foundation of the next great Lakers team down the line. Or, they could be bait to lure in a big fish that renders the Purple and Gold relevant again in a hurry.

The biggest catch of all would be Russell Westbrook. With Kevin Durant moving west to join the Golden State Warriors, Westbrook's days with the Oklahoma City Thunder could be numbered.

Not that the Thunder are at all eager to part ways with their lone remaining star. According to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder haven't made Westbrook available yet. Nor has there been any clear indication that he wants out. The team hopes to convince him to renegotiate and extend his deal now, just as James Harden did with the Houston Rockets earlier this month, and use him later to lure in another superstar next summer—like, say, Los Angeles Clippers big man (and Oklahoma native) Blake Griffin.

Both of those look like long shots for the Thunder, though. According to's David Aldridge, Westbrook hasn't yet warmed up to the idea of forgoing free agency:

If Westbrook won't commit to being OKC's tentpole, the team will be hard-pressed to bring in another big name, especially someone like Griffin, who's become accustomed to the spoils of L.A. life during his six years with the Clippers. 

Should Thunder general manager Sam Presti eventually settle on getting something in return for Westbrook now—rather tha...

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