After a poor start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers are once again paying close attention to Russell Westbrook. While the former MVP is a problem for the team, it’s far from the only one. Since the 2020 title, the franchise has been at a standstill, and it could only get worse.
Thursday night brought something new for the Lakers. No win, no, the team is still waiting for it, being one of three in the league. It was more the lack of a scapegoat. Russell Westbrook missed Denver with a hamstring problem, but still lost, relatively clearly.
It almost seemed like the former MVP wasn’t the only reason for the troubles of a team that has been more mismanaged since winning the 2020 championship than any other in the NBA. Sometimes you can get that impression by talking and joking about him after every game as if there was no other topic.
Westbrook is a disaster on this Lakers team, there’s no question about that. However, it is unclear how good this team is without him. The Lakers have two stars and, on top of that, the weakest rotation of any contending team. And that’s why they really can’t afford to wait any longer with a response.
Lakers and Russell Westbrook. what are the options?
Options are limited, Rob Pelinka (recently paid with a contract extension) and also Klutch Sports brought the Lakers into this situation, giving up almost all assets and depth for (especially) Westbrook. What do you still have in terms of Westbrook?
- Get Westbrook off the bench. Darwin Hamm did it once in the preseason, and he would do it loudly ESPN:– Insider Brian Windhorst would love to do it again. It’s unclear what’s stopping him at the time. Of course, it’s also unclear how much this will actually change.
- Leave Westbrook on vacation. Like John Wall in Houston last year. Its logic. sportingly it won’t get any better. Westbrook isn’t going to be a better decision maker at this point in his career, he’s not going to be a better rebounder, he’s not going to be a willing editor or screener either. Extreme optimists might have convinced themselves of that by last season, but not at the latest. Now, it would be optimistic to hope for an addition-by-subtraction effect (pessimistic: even without Westbrook, the Lakers don’t have nearly enough shots).
- Westbrook trade. Pretty sure it will come to that sooner or later. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers want to wait until after Thanksgiving, hoping some teams will trade up before then and get a little more for their package of Westbrook and the two future first-round picks they are allowed to trade. It’s self-explanatory, only it’s almost a month away.
Lakers. Being taxed is not an option
Where are the Lakers after Thanksgiving if they don’t do anything about it before then? Absolutely sure in the lottery. The offense is difficult to fix with the current lineup, even if Dennis Schroeder’s upcoming return could help.
The Lakers talk a lot about their good defensive numbers (currently 4th in the league), but they’ve also been fortunate enough to have very poor three-point shooting percentages so far. It doesn’t have to be sustainable, especially since so much depends on Anthony Davis backing up every game.
Downward orientation is also problematic. Not just because LeBron James is 20 years old and probably won’t be playing at a high level for another ten years. The Lakers also don’t have their pick in 2023, they’ll have to deal it to the Pelicans if their pick goes bad.
That’s right, there is currently a calculated 14 percent chance of a tandem between Zion Williamson and Victor Vembanyama in New Orleans. The late fallout from the Davis trade, which Los Angeles would certainly like to do without…
NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers’ draft situation
|the project||First tourists||second rounder|
|in 2023||The Pelicans are eligible for a trade||Lakers, Bulls|
|2024||Owned by Pelicans (could push him until 2025)||Spurs|
|2025||Lakers (unless Pelicans waive 2024)||Lakers|
Lakers. There is no perfect solution
Scenarios like these no longer make giving up picks at the end of the decade, when LeBron is certainly no longer playing for the Lakers, and neither is Davis. Especially since the trade doesn’t guarantee that Los Angeles can catch up with the best teams in the West. Very unlikely, objectively speaking.
There is no perfect solution. The status quo is unsatisfactory, trading Westbrook would either be risky if you involve picks or not very athletic if you try to trade it for other bad trades. A Davis trade could add to the asset portfolio and put the Lakers on a rebuilding path. you just don’t have a choice. There is also the question of how compatible such a trade would be with LeBron.
By the way, a trade for James wouldn’t be possible until the summer because he extended his contract earlier in the offseason. A decision that certainly wasn’t primarily driven by sports, and which now limits both James and the Lakers in their room to maneuver. Well, at least he will beat Karim’s record in LilaGold.
In any case. On the surface, it would be desirable for the Lakers to choose a path and go with it. Otherwise, it will remain a huge exhausting and dead end situation. Also, but certainly not just because of Russell Westbrook.