It may have just been a single game, but yesterday's Lakers debut was a disaster in many ways. Despite the Warriors being shorthanded, and a poor performance from Curry, the Lakers got defeated at home.
Many factors played a role, but fans couldn't help but point the finger at Westbrook, who dropped just 8 points on 30.8% shooting on the night.
With people questioning Wetsbrook's fit alongside Bron, Shannon Sharpe made a very interesting point, calling attention to the fact that the Lakers' front office had a deal in place for Buddy Hield before the big guy pushed for Russ instead.
"LeBron not gonna be able to walk this one out because they had a deal in place to go get Buddy Hield and he and AD wanted Russ. This is what you wanted. Rob Pelinka gave you Russ, they ran this by you. You wanted Russ, you got Russ."
(start at 21:55)
The Lakers, in fact, were more than engaged on a Hield trade. They were in the final stages of pulling it off before pulling a last-minute switch (seemingly with pressure by LeBron and AD) and making an offer to the Wizards instead.
Once Westbrook persuaded the Wizards to engage with L.A., the Lakers made a choice to back off of the Hield option, too. Even if Hield was a more natural fit for their structure, the Lakers believed Westbrook made them a more dangerous team in the postseason.
The decision left Sacramento management steaming, sources said. The Kings had no idea they were even competing with a Westbrook deal, and they weren’t the only ones stunned by the reversal.
Looking back, not trading for Buddy might be a move the Lakers come to regret.
As most know, LeBron James is most effective when he's surrounded by reliable shooters on the court. Westbrook, as good as he is, isn't that guy.
Last season, Hield averaged 16.6 points per game on 39.1% shooting from downtown.