Famed analyst Nick Wright strongly believes that the LA Lakers could make it to the conference finals if they trade Russell Westbrook. The 77th NBA season has started and people believe the Lakers can turn things around if they make the right moves.
Nick Wright has made some bold claims in the past, but not as bold as his most recent take on the Lakers. On “First Things First,” Wright courageously stated that the team has a chance at making it to the Western Conference Finals. It did come with a catch, though:
“If the Lakers trade Russ, they’re making the Western Conference Finals over the Clippers.”
Wright’s claims would definitely surprise many. On paper, the LA Clippers have a deeper roster and Kawhi Leonard’s return will be a big boost for them this season. While trading Westbrook could set the Lakers on the right course, it’s unclear which team is willing to trade for the former MVP, given his huge contract.
Russell Westbrook is coming off a poor 2021-22 campaign where he became the Lakers’ scapegoat. Last season was also difficult for the Lakers as they didn’t have Anthony Davis and LeBron James for the majority of the season.
As of now, not many teams are willing to engage with the Lakers for Westbrook, so their options are limited. One option could be to accept the initial proposal from the Indiana Pacers. Over the summer, the Pacers and the Lakers were rumored to have discussed a potential trade involving Westbrook in exchange for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.
However, the Lakers were not sure if they should include a future draft pick in the deal. This trade could help the Lakers with their interior problems and could also give the team a much-needed threat from outside.
Apart from that, there doesn’t seem to be any other suitable package for Westbrook at the moment.
Why Russell Westbrook will not fit in any role with the Lakers
Throughout his career, Russell Westbrook has been known for his high intensity style of play. His passion for the game has never been questioned because of this.
However, his fast-paced, open-court style of play doesn’t seem to blend well in the Lakers’ system. The team is focusing on building around Anthony Davis and making him the main man on offense. Due to this, the nine-time All-Star seems to be out of place with how he plays. He doesn’t play badly, he just can’t fit in with the rest.
The Lakers are partly to blame for this situation. They assembled a team with a plethora of point guards who are all unreliable shooters from outside. Additionally, Westbrook is a ball-dominant superstar and can’t be effective without the ball. Similarly, LeBron James is the same type of player and he’s more valuable to the team than Russ.
It’s all up to Darvin Ham as to how he’ll integrate Russell Westbrook into his system.