Trade Talk Heats Up After Lakers Get Booed Off Court In Preseason

Trade Talk Heats Up After Lakers Get Booed Off Court In Preseason

The Los Angeles Lakers made their preseason debut on Monday night with a 105-75 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Wins and losses don’t really matter in preseason. Neither does the score. But L.A. fans are understandably wary of their team after a disastrous 2021-22 NBA campaign that saw them miss the playoffs altogether.

So when the Lakers struggled in this meaningless outing, fans didn’t bother to sugarcoat things.

They booed.

Context obviously matters. The Lakers looked okay in the first half. LeBron James had an uncharacteristically awful game, but the rest of the squad looked decent early on. Russell Westbrook showed some flashes of being the player he once was, even if his wife’s social media activity is still a red flag.

But in the end there is only so much losing that will be accepted. L.A. has now lost seven straight preseason outings. That is insane, even for games that don’t matter. And after the Lakers went 0-6 in 2021 everyone tried to dismiss that result as being irrelevant too.

Turns out, it wasn’t irrelevant. It was a great sign about where the franchise stood.

This week Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that the Lakers came very close to sending Westbrook to the Indiana Pacers this summer.

The broad strokes of the deal were: Westbrook, the Lakers’ 2027 first round pick and their 2029 first rounder for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. Because of the hefty draft capital being demanded Turner’s looming free agency, Los Angeles ultimately passed.

In the aftermath of Monday’s loss, though – all parties involved would be wise to revisit the proposed trade.

The Lakers are badly lacking in depth. Relying on James, Anthony Davis and even a presumably better Westbrook (he couldn’t possibly be any worse than last year) all season and in the playoffs is not a recipe for success.

Odds are good that either James or Davis or both will be injured for a chunk of the regular season. Maybe it will be a big chunk. Maybe a little one. But they’ll be out at some point. And when they are, what happened in the second half on Monday night will happen again.

Obviously the 2027 and 2029 picks are a hefty price to pay, but the Lakers also need to figure out what kind of team they want to be right now.

Do they want to be a contender? Then the picks have to go.

Do they want to rebuild? Then James, Davis and Westbrook should go.

Playing the middle is what gets you campaigns like last season’s.

There are trades available here. The Pacers, as mentioned, are an option. The Golden State Warriors are also an option. Ditto with the Miami Heat.

It’s all about picking the right path.

The Lakers’ next preseason game against a Phoenix Suns group that just got embarrassed by a bunch of D-Leaguers recently will be telling.

If they get blown out again – sound the alarm.

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Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.
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