Following another losing game against New Orleans Pelicans with 108-116 on Monday night, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the tenth position in the Western Conference. The lowest 31-43 of Lakers history, the team needs to get their heads in the game if they still want to compete in the upcoming playoffs beginning in April.
On Monday night, Westbrook scored 18 points. The nine-time NBA All-Star played in 32 minutes hitting seven rebounds and six assists. Given Westbrook’s thought of the team “just not playing as hard as (they) can”, it is a big possibility that the Lakers are not playing well because there was just no chemistry between them.
so you haven’t been watching until this year, and you just proved that. thank you, move along.
— Richard Little (@rickdrolld) March 26, 2022
The Lakers still got LeBron James who plays consistently throughout the season, but the four-time NBA champion also had a knee injury in his history. Obviously, depending on only one person will not help the team thrive. With the news cycle going around, not only James was centered, but Lakers’ point guard, Russell Westbrook was questioned.
Unfortunately, Westbrook was seen as the antagonist in the media’s eyes. Recalling the times when he was booed by the Lakers home fans for his 1-of-10 shooting, he has been having a declining performance. NBA’s former coach and player, Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers to five championship games, was even involved in this matter. Sadly, his vibes have not been passed on to Westbrook.
Averaging 18.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game, reports say that the player and the management have a mutual interest in finding ways to end the cooperation. Perhaps, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player’s desire to leave is even bigger. However, to what team is still vague.
The Lakers’ pathway towards finding the resolution is more challenging given that Westbrook still has a massive $47 million remaining contract. Tim Bontemps of ESPN claimed this idea was “crazy”, but possible. Bontemps admitted that if the Lakers are willing to do the termination, they might have a chance at a better future.
Meanwhile, the two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP will face his own challenge as well. Currently, Russ still has no suitors waiting to acquire him. One of the teams also admitted having no interest in Westbrook. The team is New York Knicks.
If you think Russ is about the hustle, not sure you’ve been watching
— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) March 26, 2022
Knicks have no interest in Westbrook
Westbrook was acquired by the Lakers on August 6, 2021, from the Washington Wizards. Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard that the trade was in the player’s best interest.
“That was a very, very unusual circumstance where the day before the draft we were kind of spitballing some ideas and getting some input. I had a heart-to-heart with Russell and it was important to him that I knew and the Wizards knew he wants to play here,” Sheppard said.
In the unlikely event, Westbrook’s struggles will cause a major problem for the Lakers not being able to trade Westbrook anywhere. In a recent interview on New York Times‘ podcast by Marc Stein, Bleacher Reporter, Jake Fischer, voiced out what he heard from the New York Knicks.
”I pitched the idea to Knicks people time and again going back to the deadline, and they have no interest,” Fischer said. “… Everything I’ve heard is that New York is trying to grow this group as it is and mix and match a few parts and move forward.”
Meanwhile, the Lakers still need to prepare for tomorrow’s game against Dallas Mavericks. Only time will tell about the certainty where Westbrook will go.