After a disappointing 2021-22 season that ended without even a trip to the play-in round, the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to make massive changes before the 2022-23 campaign rolled around. On some level, they did just that. Only five players returned from last year’s debacle, but with Russell Westbrook among them, the core problems of limited depth, defense and shooting that doomed the Lakers a season ago continue to plague the purple and gold. Expectations will therefore remain relatively low until the Lakers prove that they don’t need to make another move.
On Monday, all of the team’s key figures attempted to do just that. New head coach Darvin Ham, president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the entire roster (save Dennis Schroder, who is dealing with a visa issue) spoke on media day about the nightmare season they just endured, the one that’s still to come and everything in between. Here are the biggest takeaways from media day as the Lakers attempt to work their way back into the championship picture.
Lakers willing to deal two first-round picks… for the right return
The biggest question of the offseason was originally when the Lakers would trade Westbrook. As the months passed, it shifted to why Westbrook hadn’t been traded. There were plenty of theories. Ham made it clear that he had a plan for Westbrook, so perhaps he wasn’t as bullish on sending him out as others. There are obvious financial motivations for keeping Westbrook. And of course, there’s the dreaded Lakers tax, a supposed premium teams charge the NBA’s most prominent team in negotiations, especially when they’re desperate.
But Occam’s razor tells us that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, and the simplest explanation here is that Westbrook is widely viewed as a negative asset and the Lakers do not want to give up assets just to remove him from the team. Getting anything of value back would mean giving up both of their available first-round picks. Pelinka made it clear that he is willing to give those picks up.
“One thing that…
Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/lakers-media-day-takeaways-pelinka-willing-to-trade-first-round-picks-westbrook-stresses-professionalism/
Author : Sam Quinn
Publish date : 2022-09-26 22:33:34
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