Hello everyone and welcome to the Lakers newsletter, which has been on a bit of a hiatus over the summer. I’m the Lakers Times drummer, Dan Woikeand i wish i could say i used the time to get a cold drink in my hand and some sun on my face, but i’ve been in the caves trying to figure out what’s next for the Lakers .
Anything Lakers, anytime.
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And honestly, I don’t know. With james lebronnext expansion (he’s eligible starting Aug. 4), today seemed like a good day to try to explain where the Lakers are at so far.
At the bottom of the corner
The offseason is supposed to be about optimism, where a team like the Lakers can overlook the obvious shortcomings of their roster and instead choose to be seduced by an optimism that can only come with a handful of months in action. like a buffer between promise and reality.
This is of course how the team and a large part of its fans behaved last year.
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On Friday, it will be a year since the Lakers turned everything upside down in a trade for Russell Westbrook — a trade that kicked off an offseason full of missteps and mistakes.
This deal just didn’t submerge the Lakers last season, it robbed the organization and its fans of that excited buzz that should fuel the summer months. Almost every other NBA team, with the possible exception of Utah, has sincere reason to be excited about the future. The Lakers? They have the most intractable problem in the NBA, the result of decisions that led the Lakers to a championship and a thousand headaches since.
That’s why they’re here today, stuck in neutral as they try to undo the damage from the Westbrook deal and a series of others that came before it and made the team less flexible. than a redwood.
They’ve painted themselves into a corner, and while they have a great view of the 2020 title, getting back there will take a lot of creativity.
Whether you watch the stalled talks for Kyrie Irvingreported conversations with Indiana for Boyfriend Hield and Myles Turner or the statement issued to ESPN by the former agent of Westbrook, it is not incorrect to infer some truths.
The market for Russell Westbrook, the player, doesn’t really exist, especially given his $47 million price tag. Maybe a fringe contender would look at the former MVP and see a talent upgrade that could make a difference, but that’s kind of the exact thing the Lakers tried a year ago and they don’t. haven’t even made a 10-team playoff field in the West. And maybe, in a vacuum, a younger team would look to a vet like Westbrook, who has largely built a positive organizational reputation in places like Oklahoma City, Houston, and Washington, but no one thinks Westbrook is ready for the Yoda stage of his career. as a mentor for the next generation.
That’s why it’ll take at least the 2027 or 2029 Lakers first-round pick to send him somewhere else right now. And if you want passable assets to very good assets in this trade, you better be prepared to bid more.
And, even if you use those two picks, you might not be good enough this season.
This nullifies much of the influence the Lakers would have liked to have in trade negotiations – everyone knows that the team, due to the Stepien rule, can only trade two first-round picks (in 2027 and 2029 ). If the Lakers wanted to completely drain their arsenal, they could include pick trades to sweeten any deal.
Altogether, that’s probably enough, according to some rival executives, to push the Lakers over the finish line in a deal with the Pacers for Turner and Hield (although the asking price for Turner has typically been at least a pair). firsts). What if the Nets decide to trade Kevin Durantthe Lakers’ package of picks and potential trades should again be able to satisfy Brooklyn or a third team willing to face Westbrook before, likely, buying him out and making him a free agent.
So why aren’t the Lakers jumping on those chances now?
They must have real concerns.
With Irving, it’s a combination of a lot of factors. Irving’s injury history, questions about his long-term passion for basketball, his ability to be available in situations that require him to be vaccinated, his own pending free agency next summer — these are all reason to give the Lakers people pause when they ponder whether or not this is the trade to go all in.
Some rival scouts and general managers consider any Irving deal requiring multiple picks to be perhaps too risky because of these factors — that those picks could perhaps be put to better use as the Lakers build their next team in contention.
But the counter-argument that almost everyone then makes is that it’s almost criminal to have LeBron James playing effectively on your team and not giving the future a boost for the present.
If you have it, if you have Anthony Davis, you should go. And if you don’t want to, then maybe it’s best that you get away from everyone and start from scratch. (The problem here, of course, is that the Lakers owe the Pelicans picks and trades, which is a great reason for the team to hit rock bottom before 2025 or 2026.)
Sources said the Lakers were more reluctant to part ways with picks this summer than in the past, perhaps a sign that they realize there is no quick fix or perhaps a sign that they are willing to wait as long as possible in an effort. to try to lower prices.
In a perfect world, the Lakers would be able to pull off a series of moves – acquiring Irving using Westbrook and a pick before adding even more shooting (think Eric Gordon or Hield).
But this situation is far from perfect, with the Lakers forced to try to figure out if they can get good enough fast enough in a deal instead of waiting for the in-season trade deadline or the end of the season. season to settle their issues with Westbrook.
When asked what he would do in their situation, a rival general manager just sighed.
Song(s) of the week
Pearl Jam – Live from Rome 06/26/18
I’ve been in the concert mood all summer, and it made me think back to what I’d consider my favorite show I’ve ever seen (I was on my honeymoon in Italy and I convinced my wife to spend an evening at a football stadium). The best concert intro song… what a great evening. I just wanted to share this memory.
In case you missed it
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LeBron James puts on quite a show in Drew League return
Lakers’ Russell Westbrook parts ways with longtime agent over ‘irreconcilable differences’
LeBron James criticizes US response to Brittney Griner case
Will the Lakers get Kyrie Irving? NBA scouts and team executives are torn
Lonnie Walker confident he can improve Lakers three-point shooting woes