The Los Angeles Lakers continue to strike out in the early days of free agency. They can’t trade Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving decided to opt into his Brooklyn Nets contract. Things only got worse when John Wall committed to the Clippers shortly after Marc Stein reported that the Lakers were interested, per ESPN.
Wall wouldn’t have been a game-changer but he would’ve been worth the risk on a minimum contract. The fact that he shares an agent with LeBron James and Anthony Davis made it seem even more likely that he’d end up with the Lakers. He’ll now be playing with the other Los Angeles team. The Clippers have a better roster than the Lakers right now and could have a stronger case to be title contenders. However, Wall can’t expect to see too much time on the court. The Lakers have much bigger needs all over the roster so Wall could’ve carved out a sizable role.
Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard believes that the five-time All-Star made a big mistake by choosing the Clippers.
“The Clippers are certainly a good landing spot for John Wall,” Broussard said. “But I think he would’ve been better off going to the Lakers. I don’t know if he starts for the Clippers. … If they play well, he’s not going to be viewed as a key reason why they have success.”
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This Is a Bad Sign for Lakers
The Lakers are typically seen as the team that attracts stars. The Clippers have never even been to the NBA Finals but have convinced notable players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to join them over the Lakers in recent years. The purple and gold ended up getting the best of the Clippers when they won a championship in 2020.
The two teams now appear to be on different trajectories. The Clippers had a down year due to injuries to George and Leonard. Both should be fully healthy once the season starts. They also have a much deeper roster and no contract as bad as the Russell Westbrook one. Wall choosing the Clippers over the Lakers is a troubling sign.
Can Lakers Turn Things Around?
The Lakers still have arguably the best duo in the NBA in Davis and LeBron when they are healthy. Those two alone playing at an elite level makes the team a contender. However, LeBron is entering Year 20, and Davis missed over 30 games in each of the last two seasons. They need help if they’re going to keep up in a loaded Western Conference.
It’ll be difficult, but not impossible, to turn things around. The first thing the team needs to do is get off of Westbrook’s contract. He may be a former MVP but he’s a bad fit with LeBron and Davis. The team needs to find wings who can shoot and play defense. That’s easier said than done as every team in the NBA needs those types of players. Luckily, the Lakers still have the strongest brand in the league. Despite Wall spurning the team, there are still plenty of players who want to wear the purple and gold. The Lakers need to hope that they get some impact players on discounts or it could be another long season.