Russell Westbrook was wearing a bucket hat, flip-flops and a smile inside the conference room in his Avenue of the Stars offices. Trade talks stalled, training camp on the cusp and Westbrook hardly had to consider the question: Do you feel wanted by the Los Angeles Lakers? “I don’t need to,” Westbrook told ESPN recently. “I need to just do my job. Whether I’m wanted or not doesn’t really matter. I think the most important thing is that I show up for work and I do the job like I’ve always done it: Be professional and go out and play my ass off and compete.”
December 9, 2022 | 1:03 pm EST Update
“I think they have a two-year window,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on the Hoop Collective podcast. “This season and next season going into that  summer. I think they have a two-year window where, you know, like Milwaukee did with Giannis Antetokounmpo, I think in that window they really need to convince Luka Doncic that he has a chance to contend year in and year out right here in Dallas. If they can’t get it done in that two-year window, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s going to force a trade or ask for a trade. I’m just saying at that point if he’s not happy, he has all the leverage in the world if he would be looking for leave.
“I’m also not going to pretend I know his innermost thoughts, but obviously I’m around this team on a regular basis. I know people who do know Luka well. I don’t think Luka will look for reasons to leave. I think he’d be perfectly happy spending his entire career in Dallas. But if he doesn’t have to look for reasons and they’re slamming him in the face, then that’s a problem.
“He’s also a guy who is a ruthless competitor, which means he loves winning. He’s used to winning. He won championships with Real Madrid. He won a EuroBasket championship with the Slovenian national team. He also detests losing. Like can’t handle it. Whether it’s cards, ping pong, but especially NBA games.”