The Los Angeles Lakers took a major gamble on Russell Westbrook this offseason and it quickly blew up in their faces. The team is 24-27, the ninth seed in the Western Conference and have not been consistent all season. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have missed multiple games due to injury but Westbrook has been around for all 51. Needless to say, he hasn’t helped the Lakers win much.
Last season, the team missed both LeBron and Davis for much of the season but still looked better than they do now. With there seemingly being no way to get off the Westbrook contract for this season or next, it’s possible that LeBron will see the writing on the walls. At 37-years-old, he only has so many years left as an elite player. If he hopes to win another championship, it may not happen with this Lakers squad.
Former New York Knicks All-Star Charles Oakley believes that LeBron could look to play for another team before he retires to ensure he wins another championship.
“He definitely wants to win a championship before he retires, and he might have to leave L.A. to get it,” Oakley said on Sirius XM NBA Radio. “I don’t know if it’ll be Cleveland, could be somewhere else, but he left twice … he’ll leave again.”
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Would LeBron Actually Leave the Lakers?
This isn’t the first time that idea of LeBron ditching the Lakers has come up. Kendrick Perkins recently said that the superstar should consider going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron’s former team is 31-20 and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference right now. It’s easy to see why the superstar returning to his hometown to finish his career would be appealing.
However, the Lakers still represent his best opportunity to win a championship. The Cavaliers are young and exciting but there’s not a single player on that team who is better than Davis when he’s playing his best. It’s hard to imagine that LeBron can take an inexperienced Cavaliers team and beat the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. He simply can’t put a team on his back as he did in the old days.
Lakers Will Likely Try to Get Rid of Westbrook in Offseason
It appears that Westbrook will survive the trade deadline this season. The Lakers have been trying to move off of him but his contract makes that incredibly difficult. Los Angeles can’t panic right now and trade the superstar just to trade him. It’s smarter to reevaluate their options in the offseason.
Perhaps they’ll be a team, like the Lakers last offseason, that sees him as a difference-maker. Westbrook can still be a dynamic player, he’s just a terrible fit with LeBron and Davis. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they’ll likely have to trade away a future draft pick or Talen Horton-Tucker just to get off Westbrook’s contract. In the end, it would be worth it just to not have to about his fit on the roster.