Many speculated Russell Westbrook would find a new team after a disastrous first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, he’s finding a new agent.
The Lakers point guard and his longtime agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman, have parted ways amid a contentious offseason, Foucher told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday.
Foucher had represented Westbrook since the beginning of his NBA career, starting with his fourth overall selection in the 2008 NBA draft and through his MVP-winning Thunder tenure and trades to the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards and Lakers. To date, he has made $288 million in NBA salary, per Spotrac.
Where Westbrook and Foucher apparently differed is what they believed was best for Westbrook this offseason. In a lengthy statement to ESPN, Foucher said another trade would be harmful for Westbrook’s value and his best option is to stay with the Lakers, which seems to imply Westbrook wants out of Los Angeles.
Foucher described the situation as “irreconcilable differences.”
The Lakers likely disagree with Foucher, despite new head coach Darvin Ham’s public insistence he can fix the point guard. The team has recently been pursuing a Westbrook-Kyrie Irving trade, but that move hasn’t materialized as the teams disagree on compensation. Foucher implies the onus is on the Lakers to add value to get a team to take Westbrook’s $47 million contract this offseason.
Here’s the statement, via ESPN.
Russell Westbrook’s ex-agent’s full statement
“I represented Russell Westbrook for 14 years and am proud of our partnership which included a highly successful 2008 draft, a super-max contract and the only renegotiation-and-extend max contract in history. I also supported Russell throughout his rise into a prominent fashion industry figure and recently orchestrated three successive trades on Russell’s behalf — culminating with the trade to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.
“Each time, teams gave up valuable players and assets to acquire Russell – and each time, a new organization embraced his arrival. We did it together with grace and class.
“Now, with a possibility of a fourth trade in four years, the marketplace is telling the Lakers they must add additional value with Russell in any trade scenario. And even then, such a trade may require Russell to immediately move on from the new team via buyout.
“My belief is that this type of transaction only serves to diminish Russell’s value and his best option is to stay with the Lakers, embrace the starting role and support that Darvin Ham publicly offered. Russell is a first-ballot Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame player and will prove that again before he is retired.
“Unfortunately, irreconcilable differences exist as to his best pathway forward and we are no longer working together. I wish Russell and his family the very best.”
Such a blunt statement of opinion over an ex-player is rare, and indicative of just how tenuous Westbrook’s place in the NBA is right now. He saw his statistics worsen nearly across the board while playing alongside LeBron James, and now seemingly no teams are interested in him on his current salary.
Russell Westbrook likes tweet calling agent’s Lakers statement false
It wasn’t long after Foucher’s statement was released that Westbrook was seen liking a tweet reading “Has absolutely nothing to do with the Lakers situation. That’s [cap].”
So Westbrook might have some thoughts on how his agent handled their divorce.
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times also reported that Westbrook has never requested a trade from the Lakers.
Meanwhile, Rich Paul, who represents James and Anthony Davis and allegedly wanted Westbrook traded midway through last season, seemed to be enjoying the show.
There really is no week safe from Lakers news.