While it’s never a bad thing for a team to add talent, the Los Angeles Lakers took a serious risk by trading for Russell Westbrook. The superstar guard would be a fit on a number of teams but the Lakers weren’t thought to be one of them. He does a lot of things that LeBron James does well but is one of the worst shooters in the NBA. LeBron has always thrived with great shooters put around him.
Los Angeles will hope that talent wins out in the end but it’s not a guarantee that will be the case. If the experiment doesn’t work out, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that the Lakers should trade their “worst contract” in Westbrook to the Dallas Mavericks for one of their stars:
This could work. Westbrook will lighten the offensive loads shouldered by James and Anthony Davis and perhaps become better weaponized as a slasher and screener. Or this could blow up in the Lakers’ face, one forced jumper by Westbrook after another.
If it’s the latter, L.A. will quickly scramble for a way out of his mammoth money. If the Mavericks don’t sense they can salvage their relationship with Kristaps Porzingis, that might open a path to a blockbuster deal. Something like Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and Marc Gasol for Porzingis, Dwight Powell and Trey Burke might work.
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Lakers Won’t Trade Westbrook During Season
First of all, it’s way too early to even start thinking about possible Westbrook trade. If the Lakers did trade him, they aren’t sending him to Dallas for Kristaps Porzingis of all players. A major reason why the team won’t trade him is because of LeBron and Anthony Davis.
They wanted him in Los Angeles and that’s why he’s with the team. The Lakers aren’t going to anger their two most important players. No matter how this season goes, Westbrook isn’t getting traded during the year. He deserves time to figure things out with a new team. The Lakers are in the business of winning championships so the regular season doesn’t matter much.
What Would It Take for Lakers to Give up on Westbrook so Quickly?
For the Lakers to even consider trading Westbrook within the next year, this season would have to be a complete disaster. If they stay relatively healthy and miss the playoffs, that would be a major sign that this experiment isn’t going to work. However, it’s almost impossible to imagine that happens with this group of players.
Now, an early playoff exit while the team is healthy would be a major red flag. If the Lakers get knocked out of the first round in the playoffs, and Westbrook is a big reason why then it could be time to start thinking about his fit with the team. Once again, it’s hard to see this Lakers team losing in the first round of the playoffs. Like it or not, Westbrook is going to be with the team for a while