The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Sacramento Kings 141-137 on Friday night.
LeBron James led LA in scoring with 30 points, Russell Westbrook chipped in 29, Anthony Davis had 23 and Malik Monk threw in 20.
Despite all those massive scoring contributions, the Lakers could not beat a Kings squad that came into the match-up 7-12 on the year and had just fired its head coach over how bad the season had been going up to this point.
Clearly changes need to be made.
LA came into the season with title aspirations, but currently the squad sits at 10-11.
One big problem for the purple and gold is Westbrook. He is an awkward fit and, even at his best, doesn’t contribute in the areas where the Lakers legitimately lack. He is a redundant piece on his best nights and true hindrance on his worst.
Fortunately, a potential solution exists.
The Houston Rockets have kept John Wall on the bench all year to give more playing time to youngsters like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. In the process, the front office has desperately been looking for a possible trade.
This week, former Dallas Mavericks executive Haralabos Voulgaris appeared on Bill Simmons’ podcast and suggested that a swap between LA and Houston might be in the cards.
“I’m giving you the only team, [the Minnesota Timberwolves], this is it,” Simmons said of potential suitors for Wall’s services. “We have no other teams unless it’s [the] Lakers’ Westbrook for Wall yet again.”
“I mean, never underestimate the Lakers’ ability to make a trade that people think no one else would make,” Voulgaris replied. “They’re definitely the team that does that. They make it happen.”
This isn’t the first time this topic has been broached. On Tuesday, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report mentioned something similar.
“The Lakers made a massive trade over the summer, but the Russell Westbrook swap has not catapulted the team to the top of the Western Conference,” he wrote. “The franchise may not be likely to change course, and moving Westbrook’s $44.2 million salary (plus a $47.1 million player option for 2022-23) would be extremely difficult in-season.
“Outside of John Wall with the Houston Rockets (on a similar contract to Westbrook) or Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers ($60.2 million owed through 2022-23), the opportunities may be nonexistent.”
So far Westbrook’s run with the Lakers has been more highlighted by him slapping fans, being embroiled in a gang signs controversy, and getting pissy with reporters than anything he has actually done on the court.
That’s one way to celebrate divorcing Johnny Manziel. https://t.co/jQ28nDRqn1
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 24, 2021
How could Wall possibly be any worse?
Will the Lakers and Rockets ultimately make this swap at some point in the foreseeable future? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.