Sure, Westbrook has become a legitimate force in his new role off the bench, but overall, his time with the Lakers has left a lot to be desired. According to Kendrick Perkins, who was speaking on a January 19 episode of ESPN’S NBA Today, Los Angeles’s reluctance to part way with their 2027 and 2029 draft picks could be in part due to LeBron James’ influence on acquiring Westbrook in the first place and their unwillingness to listen to him again.
“It almost feels like, in my opinion, that Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss is punishing LeBron for the Russell Westbrook trade, meaning, ‘You played a huge part in getting Russell Westbrook here, and we know we have these two draft picks and we’re not going to trade them because you wanted him. You wanted him, Bron. So now you have to deal with it. You made your bed, you have to lay in it,’” Perkins said.
The Lakers currently sit 13th in the Western Conference and are in dire need of some additional reinforcement if they wish to make the post-season and avoid watching from home for the second year running.
Jeanie Buss Would Prefer Lakers Stand Pat
According to a Western Conference executive who spoke with Heavy on Sports Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, it would appear that Jeanie Buss would prefer the Lakers stand pat at the trade deadline, and focus on a summer overhaul of their roster instead.
“They have come this far without trading the two picks (in 2027 and 2029) away, and it is going to be very hard to move Westbrook without putting one of those picks into the deal. You’ve got a lot of the organization saying, ‘We should trade picks and win now,’ but some in the organization are saying, ‘Do not sell out the future.’ And Jeanie Buss is with the second group, and that is what matters most,” The executive said
Unfortunately for LeBron, if the Lakers heed Buss’ wishes, that would mean another year of his career has gone down the drain despite some high-level play from him, and considering his advancing years, there’s no telling how much time he has left playing at an elite level.
Lakers Are Slowly Trending Back To Full Health
On January 14, head coach Darvin Ham spoke with the LA Times Dan Woike following a practice session to provide an update on the team’s current injury problems. Fortunately, it would appear that the Lakers will be back to full strength sooner, rather than later, as Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, and Lonnie Walker IV are all making good progress with their respective recoveries from injury.
“Lonnie is trending in the right direction, Austin is trending in the right direction, AD looked really good. He was out on the floor a little bit today…So we’re right on course of what we want to get done in terms of getting them back in the lineup,” Darvin Ham said.
The Lakers will likely be hoping that a return to full strength will see them string some wins together and climb into playoff position through the second half of the season. However, only time will tell if this current roster is good enough to turn their fortunes around mid-season.