Lakers Won’t Trade Picks Unless Team Starts to Win or Mystery Star Emerges
Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles Lakers said at the start of the season their plan was to wait until after Thanksgiving when the team will have played 20 regular season games before deciding what to do with Russell Westbrook.
Half-way through their 20-game plan, the Lakers front office has now decided they’re not going to trade their two available first round picks unless the team starts to win or a new specific mystery player emerges.
Can Pelinka not see the self-serving irony of the front office essentially blaming rookie head coach Darvin Ham and superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the poor play of the supporting cast they gave them?
Right now, the 2–8 Lakers will not trade their two first round draft picks unless the team can show they’re worthy of the investment, which could be interpreted as proof the front office no longer believes in James and Davis. This follows multiple rumors the Lakers were concerned with LeBron James possibly starting to lose the battle with Father Time and Anthony Davis continuing to struggle with his outside shooting and to stay healthy.
At the same time, other rumors came out the Lakers are waiting for a specific ‘mystery’ player to emerge for whom they would be willing to trade Russell Westbrook and their 2027 and 2029 unprotected first round picks.
The principals won’t who this specific mystery player is but it’s not hard to connect the dots as the Brooklyn Nets appear to be reaching the point where their best option could be to completely blow the team up.
While the Lakers have indicated they no longer have interest in Kyrie Irving, the specific ‘mystery’ star for whom they’re waiting to emerge has to be Kevin Durant, who could easily decide to renew his trade demand.
We saw last summer how difficult it was to find a fair trade for superstar Kevin Durant, especially considering his age, recent injury history, and trustworthiness when it comes to living up to his contract obligations.
If the Brooklyn Nets are really going to blow it up, they may not get a better offer for Kevin Durant than Russell Westbrook’s $47 million expiring contract and the Lakers 2027 and 2029 unprotected first round draft picks.
Assuming LeBron James is willing, trading Russell Westbrook for Kevin Durant would immediately elevate the Lakers to legitimate championship contention and give them what could be the greatest Superstar Big Three.
Of course, last year the Lakers thought LeBron, AD, and Russ would be the answer and the Nets thought KD, Kyrie, and Harden would be the answer. We all saw how those two paper Superstar Big Threes totally bombed.
Whether adding a third superstar like Kevin Durant would make the Lakers legitimate championship contenders is uncertain because the team still needs multiple new shooters and reliable backups for James and Davis.
That means the future of the LeBron James’ and Anthony Davis’ Lakers could well come down to how well the team plays over the next 10 games. The Lakers should have an opportunity to win 6 or 7 of the next 10 games.
But it will take LeBron pushing back on Father Time, AD becoming more dominant, Russ continuing to excel coming off the bench, and everybody else on the team coming together and playing inspired basketball.
So tonight’s game against the Clippers has to be the start of LeBron, AD, Russ, and the Lakers pushing back on the narrative and showing their fans and the front office that they’re a roster that’s one trade from competing.
If the Lakers fail to turn things around over the next 10 games, the relationship between the franchise and superstar LeBron James could be in serious danger as not trading the picks is throwing in the towel this season.
That means the next 10 games could be more important than this season. In the end, those games could determine whether LeBron James’ and Anthony Davis’ version of the Lakers will continue or crash to an end.
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