Despite the Conference Finals headlining the NBA right now, the drama in Los Angeles is still the hot topic around the league. The recent contribution to that is from Magic Johnson, who shared a thing or two about why the Los Angeles Lakers should stick it out with Russell Westbrook for another year and what he advises his beloved team to do.
Magic seems to be anti-Russ trade
In a piece published by The Athletic, long-time NBA reporter David Aldridge asked Johnson what his take is regarding Westbrook’s tenure in Los Angeles. Johnson, who reportedly is someone Lakers owner Jeanie Buss consults for basketball executive decisions, believes that the team can still make the Westbrook experiment work — just as long as they talk to Westbrook about buying in.
“ … whatever happened (this season), how can you make it better with Russell? How can you make it more comfortable? So they’ve got to figure all these things out. Take him out, take him to dinner or sit him down. How can this thing be better? ‘Cause if he’s going to be there, it’s got to be better. I guess whoever they name, that’s the first thing they’re going to have to do. And you can’t sit down once. You’re going to have to sit down for a week or two to try to figure that thing out,” Johnson told Aldridge.
Johnson also added that keeping Russ for another year is better than trading him in exchange for long-lasting bad contracts. Westbrook, who makes $47 million next season, has reportedly been involved in trade talks, but no concrete plan has been solidified.
There’s a reason why the Lakers are reportedly asking their head coach candidates in interviews how to utilize the point guard. Magic believes that another year with Westbrook is better than reconstructing the team once again.
Why this should concern the anti-Russ crowd of Lakers fans
For Lakers fans who want Westbrook gone, I suggest you take a sabbatical break next season. Jokes aside, Lakers fans should realize that there’s a high possibility that the team keeps Westbrook, especially if they don’t find a decent trade partner for him in the summer.
Note that Phil Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and now Johnson have gone on the record to say that they feel Westbrook should be back in a Laker uniform next season — three highly regarded legends who Buss still takes executive advice from.
It’s also essential the Lakers remember that Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis (their so-called “big three”) only tallied a record of 11-10 when they played together last season — which means the fit is just as brutal on the court as it is on paper.
So yes, there’s a reason why the Lakers remain in the headlines today despite not being in the Playoffs. There’s too much at stake for them this offseason, as their situation looks more intriguing by the day.