With three losing streaks in the regular season games before the All-Star Weekend, some began to wonder if it was time to hit the panic button for the Los Angeles Lakers who are known to have three of the best talents in the NBA, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russel Westbrook in the team.
Behind closed doors, there are several discontentments inside the Lakers that seem like grasping at straw for now.
Westbrook transfer saga
It is not outrageous to say that the Lakers are in dire straits. Obviously, winning the NBA champion title is not a walk in the park. Not only that, winning the NBA championship requires all the rosters to give out their best. Unfortunately for Anthony Davis, he had to go through unfortunate injuries.
“It’s sickening to see AD go down in that fashion. I hope he’s fine. Obviously, I mean, I know he’s not like, great, but obviously, his health is most important for him individually, for our ballclub,” James said last Wednesday, referring to the power forward who previously had an MCL injury on his left knee earlier last season and had to be sidelined from an ankle injury.
I’ve seen [teammates get injured] too many times, obviously. So I just wish him the best.”
With Davis out of the team, Westbrook now has to step up but apparently has a declining performance.
“Russ was having a tough night, on both sides of the ball. And Bron was really going. So I knew the ball was going to be in Bron’s hands.” said head coach Frank Vogel on Saturday, February 5 referring to Westbrook’s one-out-of-ten shooting.
However, even with such performance, Rob Pelinka, Lakers general manager refused the deal in a trade deadline to hand over Westbrook for John Wall.
Turning it around, his decision to not hit that button in the draft night provoked James’ and Davis’ agents, Klutch Sports, to be unhappy as they had Buddy Hield, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell on the lineup.
“According to multiple NBA sources, Klutch is not happy with Pelinka. The sentiment has long percolated, but it reached a boil when Pelinka refused to trade Westbrook and a future first-round pick (likely 2027) for Houston Rockets guard and Klutch client John Wall,” reported Eric Pinus.
On the other hand, noting down that Wall is not guaranteed to fix every problem the Lakers have, especially knowing that he has not played this season, it was James and Klutch who wanted the former Houston Rockets to be on their team at the very first place.
This does not seem like a good reflection for the Klutch, who now is currently mad at Pelinka for not making the move on Wall just like what the agency wanted.
Despite the rumble happening internally, the All-Star fadeaway shooter is still sure about his end goal of becoming a free agent next season so that he could play with his soon-to-be-NBA-players son, Bronny James, who is eligible to be drafted in 2024.
In the first year of the two-year contract, it is possible that the 37-year-old will return to the Cavaliers as a way to his “whatever it takes” to play with his son as a teammate.