Building out the rest of the roster is the next challenge the Los Angeles Lakers face after they brought in Darvin Ham to hopefully right the ship.
In his introductory press conference, Ham won over everyone, including people like Magic Johnson, with his emphasis on accountability and defense. Now, vice president of basketball operations, Rob Pelinka, will need to find players who fit his scheme and system. However, the Lakers will be operating over the cap, and with limited assets to make trades, they will struggle to find impact players to add.
Despite not having many avenues to add meaningful players, Los Angeles will continue to get linked to players who may be on the move. For example, Sam Amico of Hoops Wire says the Lakers are interested in Collin Sexton:
Anyway, there are so many things to consider here. Garland and Sexton share an agent. Garland became the face of the Cavs. The Cavs traded for Caris LeVert, who plays Sexton’s position. And Sexton is drawing plenty of interest — with a few league sources telling me even LeBron James‘ Lakers are interested. (That’s not happening, but explaining why is another full day of Dribbles.)”
Sexton was forced to miss most of the 2021-22 season due to a torn meniscus, and with the emergence of fellow guard Darius Garland, he is seen around some circles as expendable. However, as a score-first guard, Sexton would have plenty of utility on the Lakers, who struggled to score when LeBron James was off the floor but getting him is nearly impossible.
The Cavaliers point guard will be a restricted free agent, so trading for him would almost certainly mean including Russell Westbrook. Cleveland would have very little interest in adding Westbrook, plus a sign-and-trade would hard-cap Los Angeles and prevent them from signing free agents.
The reported interest from the Lakers can probably be chalked up to smoke, though the Klutch Sports connection could be a factor. Regardless, it is best not to take this rumor too seriously and focus on more realistic trade targets.
Darvin Ham believes Russell Westbrook can fit with Lakers
One of the significant points in the Lakers’ coaching search was finding a candidate who could best utilize Westbrook. Ham had a strong vision for how to incorporate the former MVP, and he said as much when he touted that Westbrook could fit in L.A.