With the trade deadline just around the corner on Thursday afternoon, all eyes will be on the Los Angeles Lakers to see if there’s a way they can salvage this season.
When the Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook in the summer, the hope was that he would give them a third star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis in order to get back into championship contention.
To this point though, things haven’t played out that way as both James and Davis have missed time due to injury and Westbrook’s play has been subpar for the most part, especially when playing alongside his two costars.
As a result, the Lakers currently sit at 26-29 with their most recent loss coming in blowout fashion against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Westbrook was again benched in the fourth quarter in part due to his poor play, and that may have been the final straw for the Lakers. According to Bill Oram of The Athletic, the Lakers have lost confidence that their Big 3 can work ahead of the trade deadline:
Sources have indicated that the Lakers no longer believe they can win at a high level with Westbrook alongside James and Davis, but prior to Tuesday the line of thinking was that the Lakers would be unwilling to wave the white flag and admit their summer blockbuster was a failure.
Neither James or Davis is going anywhere, so if this is the case then it likely means the Lakers are doing what they can to trade Westbrook ahead of the deadline.
That will be no easy task given Westbrook’s salary and level of play though. Based on the previous reports that have been out there, the Lakers’ only option if they want to trade Westbrook may be to the Houston Rockets for John Wall, although they may also need to include draft compensation to make that happen.
The Lakers were previously unwilling to include draft picks to unload Westbrook according to reports, so it will be interesting to see if they change their stance on that before the 12 p.m. PT deadline on Thursday.
Can the Lakers trade for Buddy Hield?
One player the Lakers were linked to last offseason before acquiring Westbrook was sharpshooter Buddy Hield.
The Sacramento Kings recently traded Hield to the Indiana Pacers, who according to reports may be looking to deal him again.
It’s possible the Lakers can still acquire Hield, although it would require the Pacers to be interested in a package of Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and their 2027 first-round pick.
Regardless though, it seems that the Lakers are more focused on trying to unload Westbrook’s contract before focusing on other potential deals to upgrade the roster around the margins.
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