The Los Angeles Lakers made a terrible mistake last year when they decided to trade their depth to get former MVP, Russell Westbrook. At the time, a lot of people said it was a bad move for the Purple and Gold, but they were keen to make it happen, ultimately landing Westbrook on draft night.
They looked very confident that this was the right move to make, but the season started and everything went wrong for the Lakers. Russ wasn't a good fit alongside LeBron James and their styles of play often made things hard for the team. Injuries and more issues bothered the Lakers this season, but the biggest thing was the Westbrook trade.
Now that their season is over, we're learning more details about the Lakers and how they lived a campaign that looked very favorable for them and ended up being the complete opposite. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report writes that the team's front office wants to be on the same page as LeBron this offseason, but they were unhappy with how the Westbrook trade was managed. Pincus says that executives blame Klutch Sports for forcing the Westbrook trade.
Upon the urging of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the franchise traded its championship depth for Russell Westbrook, yet the three stars still ended up with an extended vacation After the season concluded, Davis said he would meet with James to "reevaluate in the offseason. Upstairs, me and him, talking about the season and what we'd like to see next season."
Ideally, their suggestions to the Lakers' front office will be better than acquiring Westbrook.
But James certainly has a strong influence on the Lakers' decision-making. Multiple sources indicate the team's front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group (representing both James and Davis) for Westbrook.
That may be an epic level of passing the buck. An NBA team should consider its stars' wishes but ultimately make the best decision for the team. But James is eligible for a contract extension this summer, and the franchise needs to try and get on the same page as its star if the marriage is going to continue.
This is big if true. The Lakers created well-rounded rosters in the past two seasons, but this one, things took a different direction and they added a lot of veterans that didn't bring anything to them.
If they want to compete again next season, getting rid of Westbrook is a must, but also landing the right pieces to build around LeBron and Davis. They can't make another mistake and miss out on another good season from the King, who will be 38 when the 2022/23 campaign finishes.