The 2022 NBA trade deadline hit, and we saw very interesting moves happen. James Harden and Ben Simmons stole all the attention when the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers swapped in a blockbuster deal, while other squads made interesting moves to face the remainder of the season.
However, other teams decided to not move any player and see what they can get in the buyout market or simply look for different solutions to their problems. That's the case with the Los Angeles Lakers, who will reportedly monitor the buyout market trying to get something good.
They were offered a trade for Russell Westbrook and their 2027 draft pick, but the team declined. If they agreed to that, they would have gotten John Wall from the Houston Rockets. Now, the Purple and Gold will try to see the alternatives in this market.
Westbrook is still on the roster, and now it's time to see if he can make the right adjustments to be an impactful player for the Lakers. They need to find a way to compete in the West and Russ is part of those plans. Talking about this situation, Rob Pelinka explained that the Lakers have Westbrook's back and they hope this second half of the season can bring good things for the player and the team.
“I think one of the hallmarks of our organization is to be supportive of all the players that wear Lakers jerseys from 1 to 15,” he said. “Our job as a front office, as coaching staff as teammates for the players is to support one another. That’s one of the keys to success.
“I’ve had several conversations with Russ since we acquired him in a trade and I’ve really appreciated those. As everybody knows, Russ is a big-hearted individual. He wants to win and he knows winning with players as impactful and influential on the court as Anthony and LeBron are that it’s going to require sacrifices in his game and how he plays. We’ve had discussions around other players that have gone through those similar processes.
“I was as an agent I remember when I represented Andre Iguodala and he went from sort of being an All-Star in Philly, was traded to Golden State, played a different role there had to mold and shape his game and won championships.
“We all know some of the changes and sacrifices Kobe has made in his career when he went from playing into the triangle. Those are the processes, I’m never trying to compare players to players. Those are evolutions and processes that players have gone through.
“Russ and I have had really great discussions around those. I think the conversation have really been two-sided with a lot of listening and dialogue on both sides and I’ve really appreciated that about Russ.”
Moreover, Pelinka discussed the Lakers' decision to keep their roster untouched after the trade deadline, explaining that the trades offered to the team weren't enough to complete a move.
“We were aggressive in a lot of conversations trying to improve the team,” he said.
“We always want to put this team in the best position to win a championship. But ultimately didn’t find a deal that had a net positive effect for both the short term and the long term.
"You can’t force another team to present yourself with a deal that is going to make your team be better. That’s up to them. And throughout this process we had different things we looked at.
“And like I’ve done in the past had conversations with LeBron and Anthony about it and I would say there’s alignment here. And that’s all that matters.”
The Lakers still have a long way to go. They're hoping that after the All-Star break, things get a lot better for them. Time will tell if they can make it happen, but it seems like they're hopeful the current roster can find a way to play great and win consistently.
Westbrook hasn't meshed with the rest of the squad and he's received a lot of criticism for his performances. Hopefully, this new opportunity can be the one where he shows he can help the Lakers compete for the championship.