If the first two games are an indication, Russell Westbrook and the Lakers, together, still aren’t going to work.
And the first two games aren’t all we need. We saw all of this last year. This just a sequel to a really bad movie.
This is neither entirely the fault of Westbrook nor the Lakers, by the way. But the plot is obvious. Sometimes, guys just don’t fit.
That’s really the only way to break down the Westbrook situation. As Charles Barkley said on TNT, playing for the hometown Lakers is seemingly making Westbrook miserable.
Again, Westbrook isn’t the Lakers’ only issue. It’s not his fault the Lakers finished 33-49 last season — and appear to be on their way there again this season.
Well, guess what? Yeah, this is just a repeat of the first time, only with a few new faces.
Last season, the Lakers opened with the oldest roster in NBA history. So GM Rob Pelinka made it a priority to get younger. Credit to him for doing so, but the same issues remain. Or they actually might be worse.
Namely, the Lakers still can’t shoot straight. James mentioned this quickly after the first game (though he backed off those comments a bit after Game 2).
So, yes, the Lakers got younger and filled the roster with a bunch of new faces and a new coach in Darvin Ham.
But again, what’s really changed?
For the entire offseason, we’ve heard how Pelinka doesn’t want to surrender the Lakers’ next two trade-eligible first-round draft picks (2027 an ’29) to move Westbrook.
Anymore, you have to wonder if anyone even wants those picks to take on Westbrook. Maybe that wouldn’t be enough. Maybe a trade partner would want one of the Lakers’ younger players, too.
One rival GM told Hoops Wire, “I don’t know if I’ll still have this job in 2029. None of us do. Why would I care about a first-rounder seven years from now?”
Now, you can’t blame Pelinka for trying to be patient. Westbrook’s $47 million contract is expiring, and expiring contracts are offering viewed as gold at the February trade deadline.
But the Lakers can’t afford to wait until February. Their best player is 37-years old. What is the plan here? To try to contend now … or in 2027?
If the plan is now, then the sooner the Lakers move Westbrook, the better. You don’t need to wait a minute longer. We have all seen this movie already.
And the sequel will be as big of a box-office failure as the first.
Sam Amico is senior NBA writer at Hoops Wire. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.