The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of very serious work to do over the offseason if they want to get back to contending seriously for the NBA title as early as next season. The team underperformed spectacularly this season and whether right or wrong, Frank Vogel and Russell Westbrook have received most of the criticism for this shambolic campaign.
The Lakers addressed the first of those identified issues by officially parting ways with Frank Vogel on Monday, and the search for a new coach will likely take us into the offseason. Russell Westbrook's future is a bit tougher to ascertain, with the Charlotte Hornets repeatedly linked with him, as well as a few other NBA teams.
There has been an update on what potentially happens next for the Lakers from Shams Charania, writing for The Athletic. And the two most significant developments are potential interest in Russell Westbrook from the Indiana Pacers, and the franchise looking at Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse as one of their 'top targets'.
"Among the franchise’s top targets for the position, multiple sources say, is Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse."
As for Westbrook potentially going to the Indiana Pacers, any deal would have to take into account his massive salary, as per Charania. However, former Laker target Buddy Hield and Malcolm Brogdon are both players the Pacers would be open to trading and that could be enough to potentially make a Westbrook trade happen.
"The Indiana Pacers could emerge as a potential suitor for Westbrook, rival executives believe, but any trade involving the former NBA MVP will be complicated due to his massive salary and the Lakers’ next available first-round draft pick being in 2027, which the franchise will prioritize and thus be prudent in deciding the best route with Westbrook."
"The Pacers are building around Tyrese Haliburton, but rival teams expect them to be open to trade conversations around Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield this offseason. Hield has two years and $40.4 million remaining on his deal while Brogdon has three years and nearly $68 million. If Indiana wants to shed future salary, could it view the Lakers and Westbrook’s expiring deal as a match?"
Getting a return of Brogdon and Hield for Westbrook could address the Lakers' needs of getting a bit younger, both players are 29, while also providing shooting as well as defense (in Brogdon's case). There is no way to tell who will or won't be on LA's primary team next season, but the offseason certainly promises to bring some fireworks.