Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Lakers: 3 moves after the draft

PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 5: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers Note to User: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photo, User agrees to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

If the Los Angeles Lakers want to increase their chances of winning an NBA title next season, they should consider taking any of these three moves after the NBA draft.

The Los Angeles Lakers took advantage of last season’s 11th-place finish in the Western Conference to make some changes. Those are firing coach Frank Vogel and replacing him with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darwin Hamm. Right now, Lakers fans are sitting there waiting to see what general manager Rob Pelinka will do this offseason.

On the night of the NBA draft, the Lakers acquired a second-round pick in a trade with the Orlando Magic. However, there is still plenty of time for the team to take some action after the event.

Here are at least three moves teams should consider taking after the NBA draft. It’s important to note that this doesn’t all have to happen. They are a personal choice for the Lakers.

3. The Lakers should trade Russell Westbrook…if they can

That could be difficult for the Lakers.

Last season, the Lakers completed a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and their 2021 First-round pick for Russell Westbrook. The move was supposed to give the Lakers a superteam of Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis a season after they were eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.

The move didn’t go well as Westbrook struggled all season. It certainly didn’t help that the team dealt with various injuries, including James and Davis.

In 78 games, Westbrook is averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from 3-point range.

A move from Westbrook would be difficult, especially if there are reports that the Lakers are unwilling to trade a future first-round pick to get him out of contract. But if they can find a team interested enough in Westbrook and they don’t have to give up future draft funds, they should consider it. Maybe a team like the Charlotte Hornets?

Again, this will be a tall order for the Los Angeles front office. In all likelihood, Westbrook will stay with the Lakers for the 2022-23 season.


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