The Los Angeles Lakers’ miserable 2021-22 campaign will go down as one of the most disappointing seasons in the franchise’s storied history.
Now all attention turns to how to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen next year.
The first order of business, obviously, has been surveying whether anyone would be willing to take Russell Westbrook. Four teams have emerged as possibilities, with the Charlotte Hornets being the most vocal option.
In the most popular proposed deal, some combination of Gordon Hayward and spare parts would be shipped off to L.A. for some combination of Westbrook and assets.
So how feasible is that trade?
According to NBA insider Marc Stein – not very.
“The Lakers are unlikely to consent to a Charlotte trade headlined by Gordon Hayward — not after Hayward’s first two seasons in Charlotte have likewise been injury-filled,” he wrote.
“The Lakers surely understand that they need to factor in durability if they are taking on long-term money, which suggests that Terry Rozier would have to be the Southern California-bound headliner if the Hornets and Lakers eventually progress to serious trade talks.”
Hayward, 31, has struggled to stay on the court consistently over the past three years. And given the havoc that injuries have wrecked on the Lakers’ last two seasons, signing up for more of that understandably doesn’t make much sense.
That said, it also leaves L.A. in something of a pickle.
Westbrook clearly needs to go. But his market value around the league right now is self-explanatory.
The longer Westbrook remains on the roster, the likelier it is that Malik Monk leaves for one of the four teams who actively want to steal him from the Lakers, that the team is forced to trade Anthony Davis and/or that prominent head coaching candidates spurn them.
Kyrie wasn’t the only member of his family to go viral on Sunday. https://t.co/i02SnKHgiL
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 18, 2022
Westbrook needs to go. But at the moment, a trade doesn’t seem readily apparent.
How will this situation ultimately unfold? Time will tell.