The Los Angeles Lakers had an awful season this past year, make no mistake about it. Despite being the favorites to come out of the Western Conference at the start of the year, the team looked like they were in a constant state of shambles, as they missed the playoffs and even a chance with the play-in tournament. How could a team that features LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook falter despite their Hall of Fame talent?
The answer was lack of fit, poor performances on defense, and lack of motivation. For whatever reason, the Lakers were not motivated enough to go after the franchise’s 18th championship, as the play on both ends of the floor was horribly inconsistent. Perhaps most importantly, the fit of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis was simply not good enough. With new head coach Darvin Ham taking over the team from Frank Vogel, the expectations are that Los Angeles will closely reach their potential and make the playoffs.
After all, how can the Lakers be any worse than the 33-49 version of themselves last year? The team ranked 28th in points allowed, giving up 115.1 PPG. On offense, they were middle of the road at best by ranking 23rd in offensive rating and 11th in points scored with 112.1 PPG.
As reported by Lakers Daily on the Lakers’ decision to hold on to their disgruntled point guard, the franchise is staying with the blockbuster signing from last year. With Westbrook on the roster going forward until next season, LeBron has to be considered untouchable, because he is fresh off a season averaging 30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 6.2 APG and also making the All-NBA Third Team. The Lakers must realize that their only hope for winning the 2023 championship is through The King. And with Westbrook reportedly on board with the hiring of Darvin Ham, the Lakers have to look at their third star for a potential trade.
As reported by renowned inside Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Westbrook is excited to work with Darvin Ham because he was a former player who has the respect of the NBA players and coaches. Perhaps most importantly, Westbrook can opt into the final year of his maximum contract and feel at ease knowing he will play under a coach that has his best interests at heart.
Frank Vogel and Russell Westbrook did not see eye-to-eye, possibly because the point guard did not respect the coach enough to be convinced to compete on the defensive end. It is no secret that Ham has said he wants to hold Russ accountable on the defensive end, but also the rest of the team. That means that Russ will not be the scapegoat for the Lakers during the 2022-2023 season, because the roster will have to conform to Ham’s philosophies. Finally, Westbrook will play under a head coach he truly respects and will probably be better on the defensive end as a result.
The latest news of Westbrook staying with the team and the untouchable status of LeBron James mean Anthony Davis is expendable, and nobody should have a problem with that. The big man only played 40 games last year and has only played over 60 games once in the past four years. For the Lakers that need to win right now, Davis has to be moved. The best destination? None other than the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors are currently locked in the NBA Finals with a chance to win the championship, but there is no denying that they must improve the roster to continue to contend with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as their cornerstones. Here is the trade package that could be offered to the Lakers that will send 8-time All-Star Anthony Davis to Golden State for a package including Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, and Jonathan Kuminga.
Trade Package: Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga For Anthony Davis