The Los Angeles Lakers are not off to a great start in the 2021-22 season and they have many fans wondering if this is even a true contending team. There are several teams in the Western Conference who would likely smoke the Lakers in a playoff series with how the Lakers are playing.
While there is plenty of time for the team to turn things around, there is no guarantee that it will happen. This has been a constant problem throughout Russell Westbrook’s career, which is why no other team wanted to trade for him, and LeBron James is only getting older.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and we were talking ourselves into the Westbrook trade when it happened. But what if we could go back and change the actions of the offseason, not just the Westbrook trade, to make the best version of the Lakers possible?
Here is what we would do.
First of all, the Los Angeles Lakers are not making the Russell Westbrook trade
This trade should not have happened. While there is still the chance that the Lakers figure out how to make Westbrook work, those chances appear to be slim and it seems more likely that this blows up in the team’s face.
This would be one thing if Westbrook was on an expiring deal and the team could pivot after this season. They can’t. Westbrook has a $47 million player option that he would be foolish to turn down next season, giving the Lakers no outs whatsoever.
Next year’s team is going to be the same thing as this year’s team with a few of the veterans cycled out for new veterans. And if it does not work this year it definitely is not going to work next year.
So what should the Lakers do with those assets and cap space?