The Lakers have started 0-3 with a hefty serving of drama to go with it, thanks to Russell Westbrook. It’s been a tough run for the Lakers since winning the title in 2020 inside the bubble in Orlando. LA was bounced in the first round of the playoffs two seasons ago and were left on the outside looking in on the postseason last year.
With time not on James’ side — he turns 38 in December — and the Lakers having limited resources to build the proper roster around him, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports said it’s time to blow it up.
“I think they should just say, ‘You know what? From an extreme case, trade AD, trade LeBron, trade Russ if you can. Start all over,'” Goodwill said on October 24. “Because what you have is not sustainable, even in this season. By ‘sustainable,’ I mean — even if you get Buddy Hield and Myles Turner — that makes you, what, a sixth seed in the Western Conference? That’s not Laker expectations. That’s not LeBron James expectations. There’s no path to get better. So why not just tear it down?”
Lakers Committed to Building Around James
Goodwill acknowledged to his partner, Dan Devine, that such a move would be extreme, but it’s a reality that the Lakers are facing because of their roster construction. They’re the worst shooting team in the league after retooling the roster, and there are few paths to improvement.
“It’s extremely extreme,” Devine said. “I can’t abide by this. I do believe, though, that you’re right in the idea of, like, you’ve got to burn every boat, every bridge you’ve got. You’ve got to burn every asset in the quiver to improve the team around LeBron and AD.
“Especially when you got rid of a championship-level defense around those two guys. You said, we’re going to build a different kind of team. But LeBron and AD are what count.”
The Lakers have two first-round picks and are willing to deal them for players they feel will help get the franchise — and James — another title.
“Let me abundantly clear: We have one of the great players in LeBron James to ever play the game on our team. He committed to us with a long-term contract, a three-year contract,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. “So of course we will do everything we can, picks included, to make deals that give us a chance to help LeBron get to the end. He committed to our organization. That’s got to be a bilateral commitment, and it’s there.”
Lakers Still Exploring Westbrook Trades
It appears only a matter of time until the Lakers ultimately end up dealing Westbrook, who is becoming a larger distraction by the day. After being benched late against the Blazers, head coach Darvin Ham sent a clear message on Westbrook’s situation.
“From Day 1, I said I’m going to do whatever I need to do to make us successful,” Ham said, per ESPN. “We don’t have time for feelings, for people to be in their feelings. We’re trying to turn this around.”
Nothing at this point appears imminent for the Lakers, and it was previously reported that the team would wait about 20 games to make a move.