The Los Angeles Lakers came into the 2021-22 NBA season with championship aspirations. Rather than actually claiming a title, though – they failed to make the playoffs altogether.
It goes without saying that this will be a summer of rebuilding for L.A. But what does that constitute?
There are currently four teams vying to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Lakers.
Only one of those squads, however, is presenting the franchise with an offer they can’t refuse.
“My favorite Westbrook trade package among the rumored options is the Indiana proposal of Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield for Westbrook (and Kendrick Nunn and/or Talen Horton-Tucker),” reported Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
“Brogdon and Hield are both younger and better fits around James and Davis. That trade, coupled with the right head coaching hire, is perhaps the Lakers’ quickest path back to contention.
“If the Lakers sign a small forward with their taxpayer mid-level exception, they could enter next season with a starting five of Davis, James, Free Agent X, Hield, Brogdon, Austin Reaves, Stanley Johnson, Horton-Tucker/Nunn and Wenyen Gabriel off the bench (addition to whoever else they add in free agency). That’s already a better opening roster than this season’s opening night roster — by a lot. (They’d lose Malik Monk in this scenario.)”
Monk is currently being courted by four teams. He is a goner no matter what. The Lakers simply cannot afford to retain him. But if you lose him and gain Hield and Brogdon, you’re still coming out well in that deal.
Is it unfortunate that both Hield and Brogdon come with some extra years on their deals? Sure. But it’s two and three years; the underlying presumption is that the Lakers can be title contenders for that period of time regardless.
Hield wanted to come to L.A. anyway. That is a known fact. He was shocked when the Lakers spurned him last summer. The front office would be wise not to make that mistake twice.
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 28, 2022
If the Lakers can pull this maneuver off, it would instantly pump some life back into the franchise and rectify last summer’s awful lapses in judgement.
Will it ultimately happen? It’s impossible to say for certain.
Should it, though? Absolutely.