The Los Angeles Lakers have not had the kind of offseason that fans were hoping for after the most disappointing season in franchise history. The role players on the team did not improve that much, and more importantly, Russell Westbrook has not been traded.
The one good thing out of this offseason was the fact that LeBron James signed an extension with the Lakers. Back in February, it did not seem like LeBron would sign an extension as the Lakers did not do much to improve the team at the trade deadline.
Back then there was optimism though that the Lakers could make something happen in the future. However, when we go back and read what was being reported about the Lakers in February it becomes even more frustrating for the fans.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported on a meeting between Rich Paul and the Lakers front office after the trade deadline in February. In that report, Wojnarowski penned something about the team that is extremely frustrating to read for fans that wanted to see Westbrook dealt.
“The Lakers believe they’ll have the expiring contract of guard Russell Westbrook ($47.1 million), Talen Horton-Tucker and first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to use in trades.”
Despite this, the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t utilized their assets.
The Los Angeles Lakers did trade Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverley, but it is still frustrating to see that the team believed it could trade Westbrook and two picks this offseason. This was the message being peddled by the front office through reporters to the fans and obviously, it was not true.
Los Angeles has had plenty of options to make a Westbrook trade happen if they just committed to trading two first-round picks. Heck, the best deal possible (Indiana trade for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield) probably would have been done by now if the Lakers just offered two picks.
But the team is being stingy despite having more draft picks in upcoming years than they advertise to the fans. Why was this the messaging back in February if the team was just going to scoff at the idea of trading two picks with Westbrook six months later?
There are two possibilities. Los Angeles was either outright lying to make the fans happy or they had ignorant confidence that they would be able to trade Westbrook and two picks for another star player. Based on how the front office has operated, I would not be shocked if that is what the team thought would happen.
Instead, Westbrook is stuck on the roster with less than a month to go before the 2022-23 season begins. So much for having those assets to trade in the offseason.