The Los Angeles Lakers came into the 2021-22 NBA season with championship aspirations. When it was all said and done, the team failed to even make the playoffs.
Understandably, this season is being viewed as one of the most disappointing franchise history.
As the front office moves to rebuild in a hurry, one thorn continues to exist in their side: the acquisition of Russell Westbrook.
L.A. spurning the likes of DeMar DeRozan — who thought he was going to be Laker last summer — and Buddy Hield — who similarly believed he would suit up in purple gold — for Westbrook, was an incredible mistake.
And the team seems to be laying the blame for that error in judgment at the footsteps of LeBron James and Klutch Sports.
“James certainly has a strong influence on the Lakers’ decision-making,” reported Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “Multiple sources indicate the team’s front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group (representing both James and Davis) for Westbrook.”
It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds from here. James doesn’t generally respond kindly to unfavorable press – and it’s clear that he Lakers are working hard to make sure he gets blamed for the Westbrook acquisition.
To be fair, James did take Jeanie Buss putting him in his place earlier this year in stride. But it’s unclear whether that was a one-off or the new normal.
In any case, there are currently four teams who are willing to take Westbrook off the Lakers’ hands – with one clear favorite. L.A. has a desired trade package in mind, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll get it.
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 1, 2022
This is shaping up to be an interesting summer.
How will all parties involved feel heading into the 2022-23 season if things continue down this somewhat tense path?
Time will tell.