The Los Angeles Lakers have assembled a roster that would have dominated the NBA years ago. During the offseason, the Lakers felt that their 2020-21 NBA roster could not make a plausible championship run, especially after the way they crashed out of the 2021 NBA playoffs.
So during the summer, the Lakers let go of all their players except LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Talen Horton-Tucker. The first big move they made was trading for former MVP Russell Westbrook, sending players to the Washington Wizards to land him.
Then, they signed a host of veteran players. Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, and Avery Bradley returned to the Lakers. They also signed other veterans like DeAndre Jordan and Carmelo Anthony, the latter being one of their biggest moves.
In a recent discussion, former players Stephen Jackson and Paul Pierce spoke about the new-look Los Angeles Lakers (3:45 mark). Jackson was complimentary of the moves for Westbrook and Anthony, noting that those two would bring a lot to the team. But if they couldn't put together a title run, there would be 'hell in LA'.
Pierce compared the 2021-22 Lakers to the 2003-04 Lakers, who signed veteran superstars like Karl Malone and Gary Payton to help them win a championship. He questioned how the fit between LeBron James and Russell Westbrook would work, given how ball-dominant both those players are.
Jackson: “It’s good to see Melo get a chance to win the Championship, it’s also good to see Russ, LeBron, and AD get together, as a basketball fan and also as former NBA player to see those three guys on the court in the same uniform is exciting to see... but if they don’t win a championship it’s gonna be hell in LA.”
Pierce: “This team is really giving me that Karl Malone Garry Payton when they were with Kobe, that kind of feel… If they’re healthy they should get to the finals, but that’s the sign there, they are older, how’s Westbrook gonna fit with LeBron… Westbrook has been ball-dominant but LeBron’s gonna have the ball in his hands, I am sorry, he’s still 26/7/7 a night, can Westbrook make that adjustment and that’s what we have to find out.”
While the Lakers do have a lot of veterans, that isn't the entirety of their squad. The addition of some youth was important, so they signed Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk to the team. The Lakers put together an incredible roster, with some of the best players to ever play the game.
The Lakers did not have the best start to the season, as Russell Westbrook bombed in his first official game with the Lakers. Despite the heroics of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers lost to the Warriors. LeBron wants to move on from this and told Russ to forget about this performance after he went home.
Westbrook, Anthony, Howard, Rondo, and Jordan are all former All-Stars who are past their primes. But they have shown that they can contribute at a high level for an NBA team. Many people consider the Los Angeles Lakers to be one of the favorites to win the NBA championship this season.