The Los Angeles Lakers and Russell Westbrook were better off each other. Westbrook's homecoming has been a nightmare thus far, and he's made it clear that he wouldn't mind being traded.

On top of that, the fact that Rob Pelinka traded for Patrick Beverley and also signed Scottie Pippen Jr. and Dennis Schroder made us all think that a Westbrook trade was imminent. However, that doesn't seem like the case right now.

In fact, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic recently revealed that the Lakers are unlikely to part ways with Westbrook, as doing so could seriously hamper their salary cap situation in 2023.

NBA Rumors: Lakers Won't Trade Westbrook Because It Could Hurt Their Chances In 2023 Free Agency

(Via The Athletic)

"According to a high-level Lakers source, their refusal to do Westbrook deals with Indiana and Utah that have been discussed in various capacities for months has everything to do with this hopeful vision for their future beyond this season. In July 2023 the Lakers could not only be flushed with enough cash to add another maximum-salary-level player but also in possession of their first-round picks from 2027 and 2029.

As it stands, the Lakers only have James ($46.9 million), Davis ($40.6 million) and rookie Max Christie ($1.7 million) under contract for the 2023-24 campaign. (Jones also has a player option worth $2.6 million.) With the salary cap projected to be $134 million, Los Angeles could create upwards of $30 million to $35 million or so in cap space. If their widely known interest in Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving isn’t satisfied via trade by then, Irving could reunite with James the easy way when he’s an unrestricted free agent. Other notable free agents could include Khris Middleton (player option), Fred VanVleet (player option), Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Herro (restricted) and Jordan Poole (restricted).

Add in that retaining the first-round picks could open up all sorts of impactful opportunities on the trade market, and you start to see why there’s such a strong reluctance to make any moves that would hinder this plan."

The Lakers' first-round picks are two of the most valuable and coveted commodities in the league right now, which is why it's natural to think they'd only trade them for top-notch return. So, they may have to sacrifice another season to finally go back to the top of the league.