Los Angeles Lakers Whats next for LeBron, Westbrook, and the

Thursday, April 7, 2022
author picture Daniel Marino
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Whats Next For LeBron Westbrook and the Los Angeles Lakers?

With the Lakers at 7-21 since their Jan. 25 win over the Thunder‚ what is next for LeBron Westbrook and the Lakers? LeBron James and Anthony Davis have both missed more games than they've played this season. LeBron Westbrook and the Thunder have played in seven of those games‚ and the Lakers have gone 6-15 in those games. Is Hield the right fit for the Lakers? Let's find out.

LeBron Westbrook

While it's difficult to argue with the logic of Westbrook's acquisition‚ the Lakers need to find a way to pay off Westbrook's buyout option. The trade would cost James a season and would be a blow to the franchise's draft position. In that case‚ they may consider trading Westbrook for a second or third-round pick. If that happens‚ the Lakers could be forced to make some tough decisions regarding their roster. The Los Angeles Lakers received an attractive deal for Westbrook‚ who was traded by the Washington Wizards at the trade deadline. The Lakers will get a 2024 and 2028 second-round pick in exchange for Westbrook‚ while Harrell opts in for $9.7 million next season. Westbrook will likely start in the starting lineup for the Lakers this season‚ joining James and Davis. The Oklahoma City native has a long history in Los Angeles‚ having gone to UCLA and Lawndale Leuzinger High School. Last season‚ Westbrook averaged a triple-double. Since that trade‚ Westbrook has played for four teams. The NBA is filled with stories about Westbrook and James‚ so it's no wonder the two-time MVP of the NBA is not shy about speaking his mind on the Westbrook situation. James has often weighed in on basketball topics through his social media platforms‚ but his comments were atypical for a day after the Washington Wizards game. In the postgame interview after the Lakers' victory over the Wizards‚ the NBA superstar addressed the Westbrook situation. The Lakers needed to get more help for their star players‚ and Westbrook could be the third star. Even if James and Davis are out‚ Westbrook would be a steady presence‚ and the Lakers might even be in the playoffs if Westbrook is available. The Lakers may need to overhaul their roster in the offseason‚ which could cost them the title. If the Lakers don't sign Westbrook‚ they'll have to look elsewhere.

Alex Caruso

After a brief stint in the G League‚ Caruso was acquired by the Lakers for the 2017-18 season and quickly became a fan favorite. The defender‚ who spent time with the South Bay Lakers in the G League‚ gradually rose up the hierarchy of the team and became an inseparable part of the title-winning Lakers. He also gained a reputation as one of the league's best perimeter defenders. Despite his departure from the Lakers‚ he maintained that he does not have any grudges against the organization. During free agency‚ Caruso was offered a two-year deal worth $15 million. Westbrook turned down the deal because the Lakers wanted to re-sign Talon Horton-Tucker. LeBron James‚ meanwhile‚ wanted to keep a player who played a role in the team's 2020 bubble championship. Caruso reportedly impressed James‚ who was upset about the decision to pass on Westbrook‚ and the Lakers wanted to protect their franchise asset. As for the future of Westbrook‚ the Lakers will likely have to rebuild their roster after losing Westbrook. The Lakers struggled to replace Westbrook. He was acquired in a trade for Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‚ and the Lakers have yet to find a true replacement for him. The Lakers also have a tough time replacing Alex Caruso‚ who had a breakout season in 2017. The Los Angeles Lakers are in desperate need of a defensive wing. Westbrook has been struggling with foul trouble and is being slowed by injuries. It is a dismal start to the season for the Lakers and Westbrook is still struggling. The Bulls‚ meanwhile‚ have a 10-4 record‚ while the Lakers have a disappointing 9-10 start.

Buddy Hield

The Lakers need to make a splash on the trade market this offseason and they're circling back to the Sacramento Kings to sign Buddy Hield. But there are a lot of obstacles the Lakers must overcome in order to land the free agent's services. In addition to matching Hield's $22.7 million salary‚ the Lakers may have to trade away Talon Horton-Tucker or other draft assets in order to get him. The Kings had previously approached the Lakers about a trade for Hield. However‚ the Lakers declined‚ and Hield was eventually traded to the Indiana Pacers. Regardless of how the Kings feel about the deal‚ the Lakers know that they made a mistake by signing Russell Westbrook to their roster. They were secretly interested in a Westbrook trade from the start of this season. If the Kings do move Hield‚ they'll want to make sure the deal ends with a deal that benefits them and Hield. As mentioned before‚ the Lakers did not agree to the deal with the Wizards‚ and the deal between the two teams slowed down. Despite this‚ the Lakers did add the 22nd pick to their deal. The Lakers could still add Montrezl Harrell‚ Kyle Kuzma‚ and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the deal. But‚ most importantly‚ Hield would get a realistic shot at winning an NBA title in the 2021-22 season. Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield had been the subject of numerous trade rumors during the NBA offseason. The Lakers had been interested in trading for Hield‚ but ultimately opted to trade for Russell Westbrook instead. Hield is expected to stay in Sacramento for now. A conversation with Hield in the hallway after the Lakers' 122-114 win over the Kings is expected to be very interesting. It's clear that the Sacramento Kings have no love lost with Hield‚ but the Lakers aren't likely to do it any time soon.

Buddy Hield is a better fit for the Lakers than Westbrook

A trade between LeBron Westbrook and Buddy Hield was widely expected. It would have provided the Lakers with a sharpshooting center while also saving the front office money. Westbrook‚ however‚ has yet to give the Lakers the boost they need. Vogel has benched Westbrook in the fourth quarter and Hield would provide the spacing that the Lakers are looking for. A trade between Hield and Westbrook would also allow the Lakers to keep veteran wing defender Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‚ who is a proven defender and would be a valuable asset for the team. Hield is an excellent shot and has some great characteristics that make him a good fit for the Lakers. His averages are high for a small forward and he's a good passer. However‚ his shooting percentage has dipped in the last two seasons. Hield is a good shooter who can hit threes from deep. He's averaging 16.9 points per game this season and shooting 39.1% from beyond the arc. In addition‚ the Lakers have added a 22nd-round pick to the deal. The Lakers' offseason moves have been fruitless‚ with the exception of a trade for LeBron Westbrook. The Lakers had four players injured before the season began and the four players that were waived have since flourished on other teams. The Lakers could have kept Montrezl Harrell‚ Alex Caruso‚ and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Moreover‚ the Lakers could have also retained Kyle Kuzma. Clearly‚ the Lakers have to upgrade their roster to contend for a title. While there are few ways to do this‚ they could trade Kendrick Nunn or Russell Westbrook to get a better player. Whatever happens‚ the Lakers need to find players who can complement LeBron and stay late at games. The Lakers will need to find a center to complement LeBron‚ who can shoot well and defend the paint.

Frank Vogel's future with the Lakers

The question of Frank Vogel's future with the Los AngelesLakers has been swirling for several months. Some league personnel have mentioned Quin Snyder and Doc Rivers as possible replacements. Quin Snyder coached the Lakers as an assistant during the 2011-12 season. Meanwhile‚ Doc Rivers coached the Los Angeles Clippers for seven seasons. If the Lakers advance in the playoffs‚ the team may reconsider Vogel's future. Last summer‚ Vogel signed a one-year extension with the Lakers. He's now under contract through the 2022-23 season. In return‚ the Lakers have praised him for helping them win the 2020 NBA Championship. The Lakers have been plagued with injuries. LeBron James has missed 12 games so far this season‚ and has been suspended one game due to a sprained MCL. In addition‚ rookie Kendrick Nunn has been limited in his rehab due to a bone bruise on his right knee. The Lakers have been unable to find a suitable replacement for Vogel‚ so they are attempting to find help elsewhere. In addition to trading for a midrange contract‚ the Lakers have entered trade talks with rival teams for 21-year-old Talen Horton-Tucker. Rival GMs believe the Lakers value the young forward and believe the Lakers won't make any significant moves until they get Horton-Tucker. However‚ there's more to it than just trade talks. In recent weeks‚ the Lakers' coaching staff has been under intense scrutiny. LeBron James has responded to questions about his job security. Meanwhile‚ Carmelo Anthony said that the Lakers' fate is up to them and not the coaches. The Lakers currently sit in eighth place in the Western Conference with 37 games remaining. But Vogel's future remains in doubt. And while the Lakers are facing a difficult situation‚ the players still have the power to make the team better.