RussRussell Westbrook was out Wednesday night time with a hamstring damage because the Lakers had been soundly defeated on the street towards a Denver Nuggets squad lacking Michael Porter Jr. and that includes a sub-100% Jamal Murray. Honestly, the Lakers may have used Westbrook’s vitality. Somebody wanted to face as much as Nikola Jokić late in that sport when James went on a run to attempt to shut the deficit on the prime of the fourth quarter. As an alternative, the two-time MVP scored eight factors and bothered Davis with strain protection. Davis tried two discipline objectives within the fourth quarter and no free throws.
It has been clear who Davis is since final season when James missed time early. Whereas he could be a main contributor, and probably even a frontrunner within the field rating, he can’t be relied on to create offense when his staff wants it. Davis’ teammates have to make scoring simpler for him, not the opposite method round.
At the least Westbrook has the flexibility to use important strain to a protection. Whereas not as fast as he was once, he can nonetheless blow previous opposing defenders and end on the rim, or tally an help when he will get reduce off. If it wasn’t for his tendency to fireplace up ill-timed photographs he could be a greater offensive participant than Davis. The opposite facet of the ball ,nevertheless, Davis is stellar whereas Westbrook could be higher off deliberately steal-hunting on each defensive possession than trying to play inside a scheme.
The Lakers have to commerce Westbrook for a lot of causes. He doesn’t match subsequent James the way in which that one other ball-dominant guard did — Kyrie Irving . Westbrook wants the amount to get into rhythm and be efficient whereas Irving was capable of maximize each time the ball was in his fingers. Additionally, Westbrook has appeared disengaged many instances this season. Nonetheless, the rationale the Lakers have to commerce him probably the most is that their roster is so shallow their toes are getting scraped on the underside of the pool, and Westbrook’s expiring contract has as a lot worth as nearly any participant on the staff.
Bringing in Westbrook value the Lakers a number of key rotation gamers on a staff that, in 2020-21, went into freefall when each James and Davis received harm throughout the second half of the common season. The Lakers wanted one other creator on offense, and so they received actually that once they acquired Westbrook. He can create at a second’s discover. Will his creations assist? That varies from possession to possession.
This past offseason, the Lakers didn’t bring back Carmelo Anthony. They traded Stanley Johnson and Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverley. Malik Monk walked in free agency. And the team brought back key bubble contributor Dennis Schröder, whom they hope will be ready to play some time in November.
The only move the Lakers have left — that they would be willing to make — is packaging Westbrook’s $47 million contract and hoping they can get 60 cents on the dollar for it. That package, however, is only mildly appealing because the Lakers do not have a first-round selection to pair it with until 2027.
Personally, I would try to unload Davis and Westbrook at the deadline to maybe pull a miracle and try to get back in the lottery this season, or at least get a couple of those picks back in the future. The Lakers still are the NBA’s glamor franchise, and with those big contracts off of the books they’d have a load of cap space in 2023 and have something to build with in the future with a small bit of draft capital. James and Rich Paul would just have to be unhappy in the short run.
That is a move that Rob Pelinka, the Ramseys, nor Jeanie Buss would ever make, but they most certainly need to be willing to make their 2027 first-rounder untouchable unless they can bring in Tyrese Haliburton, Collin Sexton, or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If not, their standing offer should be their 2029 first-rounder, Westbrook, and any other two players on the roster not named James or Davis.
As badly as the Lakers need to get rid of Westbrook, it’s not solely because of his play. If a “Most Disappointing Laker” award existed, Davis should get it by a unanimous vote. The Lakers have a roster that is in desperate need of a talent infusion if they want to be competitive this season. Westbrook’s $47 million price tag just happens to be the best way to get it done.