The NBA season is finally over with the Milwaukee Bucks being crowned champions over the Phoenix Suns. Many teams and players can set their sights on next season. The Los Angeles Lakers were a team many expected to still be playing right now but injuries derailed their season. It’s clear that the team needs more depth behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With that in mind, the Lakers could go big game hunting this offseason. There’s been some chatter that they’ll try and land a third superstar. They won’t likely have a shot at one of the more sought-after players like Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard. However, they could target a star who isn’t as valuable. They could attempt to sign an aging Chris Paul this offseason but Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reported that the team is looking at former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook:
According to sources, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have been on the hunt for veteran point guard, and Paul is on the list. There have also been talks about Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook being a potential candidate to move back home to Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade deal that could include free agent point guard Dennis Schroder, forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Talen Horton-Tucker, sources said.
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Should Lakers Target Westbrook?
Westbrook is one of the more frustrating players in the NBA. He continuously puts up historic numbers but he can’t lead his team to consistent wins. He’s also incredibly inefficient. He’s shot 43.7% from the field of his career and only 30.5% from three. Those are ugly numbers for the former MVP.
If the Lakers go after Westbrook, he’s going to have to change his game significantly. The team likes bigs so he can say goodbye to getting 10+ rebounds a game. It’s hard to imagine he can continue averaging a triple-double on a team with LeBron and Davis. That said, if he can change his game and make some sacrifices in order to win, adding Westbrook could give the Lakers a lethal big three. The star guard is from Los Angeles and played college Paul at UCLA so it would be a homecoming of sorts.
Westbrook or Paul?
As Spears noted, Chris Paul is also on the Lakers’ radar. That would make a bit more sense than Westbrook. Paul is set to hit free agency so Los Angeles would have more flexibility when putting a contract together. He also has a great relationship with LeBron and fits the Lakers better. He can stand back and be a distributor while LeBron and Davis handle the bulk of the scoring.
However, there’s one thing that is appealing about Westbrook and it’s the fact that he’s been pretty durable throughout his career. He doesn’t miss a lot of games despite playing with maximum effort at all times. If the Lakers are keen on landing a third star, finding someone who they know will play if Davis or LeBron are hurt is important. Paul is great but he has an injury history. Westbrook is a guy who can keep the ship afloat if injuries begin to pile up.