The Los Angeles Lakers failed to move Russell Westbrook during the 2022 NBA offseason, and it appears abundantly clear that the failure is having major negative effects on their 2022-23 regular season.
The Lakers are 0-3 in their first three games, and Westbrook’s lack of production on the court has strongly contributed to some of those loses. The way Westbrook is playing right now, it stands to reason that the Lakers would have at least one win already had Westbrook simply been out of the team’s lineup.
According to a recent report, the Lakers could have offloaded Westbrook in exchange for former Utah Jazz sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley and Rudy Gay. Of course, the Lakers would have had to sweeten the pot with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks.
To make matters more frustrating for Lakers fans, it looks as though the Jazz were even willing to send the Lakers a 2023 first-round pick in the deal.
The Athletic’s Tony Jones wrote on Twitter that the Jazz were good to go with the deal.
While it is hard to know if the deal would have been worth it for the Lakers in the end, there is no doubt that a roster with those three players would have been far better than the product on the floor for the Purple and Gold at the moment.
The Lakers are shooting an abysmal 21.2 percent from deep at the moment, and that is having a ripple effect on the rest of the team’s offense. There is no space for players to operate, and there seems to be even less communication.
While the players the Lakers would have received in that deal are not world-beaters, there is no question that each can operate effectively as shooters.
Conley has gotten off to a slow start this season, but has a career shooting average of 38.1 percent from deep. Gay is currently shooting a blistering 45.5 percent from the 3-point line, and Bogdanovic is setting the world on fire with an amazing 50.0 percent shooting clip from deep.
All three players would give Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis far more space to operate and dominate on the floor.
Beyond that, getting rid of Westbrook at this point would clearly be addition by subtraction. He’s doing just about everything wrong on and off the court.
Though the Lakers reportedly plan to wait until 20 to 25 games into the season to evaluate the state of things, that might be far too late to turn the season around.