The Russell Westbrook era has been a failure so far for the Lakers, and at 26-31 on the season, many fans are ready to give up and try something else.
Within the front office, however, there is a different feeling. Instead of packaging away their future to make another risky trade, team management would rather on seeing this project through.
According to Ramona Shelburne, it's likely that the 17x Champions will start next season looking similar to how they do now.
“But I think the Lakers are not ready to pull the ripcord on that Russell Westbrook experiment," Shelburne said on the “Brian Windhorst & the Hoop Collective” podcast. I think they feel like the team, the coach, the coaching staff, everybody has not done enough to say this isn’t going to work. Russell Westbrook is a future Hall of Famer. There are different ways that he can be used.
By the way, some of this is on Russ, too. Russ can still change more, too. But I think they feel like they gave up so much to get him and he is a really talented player if used correctly and he has not been used in any kind of way he’s comfortable with or has been used or been good before. We can argue forever about whose fault it is. I would say it’s a lot of both. Some of it’s just reality. You’re playing with LeBron now and it’s a different setup for him than he’s ever been in. I think they just feel like you can’t keep changing all the time and especially…change for change’s sake. That’s some of the phrasing I’ve heard. ‘Let’s not make a change to make a change. Let’s make a change when we know it’s going to make us a lot better.’”
The Lakers gutted much of the roster to get Westbrook. Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell were all given up and sent away to take a chance on the multiple-time All-Star.
To give up on him so soon doesn't make a whole lot of sense and only worsens the Lakers' position in the future.
The truth is, no matter how the Purple and Gold finish this season, they have no choice but to try and figure things out for the next one. Like it or not, they're rolling with who they've got and it's the perfect opportunity for the "big three" to show what they're made of.