It's October 21st and Russell Westbrook is getting into it with fans. The highest-paid player on the Lakers (that's right, he's paid more than LeBron James) went 0-11 from the field, including several patented 3pt bricks, and was insulted when a fan yelled ”You fuc**ng suck!”
This is only going to get worse folks
Westbrook isn't the only reason the Lakers lost, but he is the only one that doesn't seem to understand what needs to change. The entire offseason and preseason were about exactly that. Can Russell Westbrook change? Shockingly, the answer seems to be no. The only person more delusional than Westbrook taking a three-pointer is a person thinking he's going to stop taking three-pointers.
It's not like Westbrook didn't let us know this was going to happen. When asked to analyze his performance in '21/'22, the only thing that came to mind was that he didn't average a triple-double. Do I need to bring up the childish behavior around Patrick Beverly in the preseason? If I still didn't make my case, here's the freshest example of Westbrook being the definition of delusional.
Well, actually, that's not all you can ask for. How about playing smart? If you were a two-way player and ended the game with a 2/3/4 and 5 steals, you could get away with "played hard." But even for a two-way guy, the fact that boxscore came with a 0-11 from the field, 0-6 from beyond the arc would be a problem. I will leave you with two facts.
- At $47 million, Russell Westbrook is the highest-paid player on the Lakers.
- Last season, Russell Westbrook shot 29.8% for three.
What should the Lakers do?
Here's the thing; in our internal BN predictions pool, I was the only person that has Westbrook with the Lakers after the trade deadline. Don't get me wrong; they would instantly become a better team with him somewhere else. But I don't think the Lakers are a Westbrook trade away from anything meaningful.
They would still be a play-in tournament team, and giving up their only assets, the '27 and '29 first-rounders, to be a bit more competitive in the play-in makes no sense. LeBron gets that.
That's why this season will be the Kareem chase season in Los Angeles. LeBron will pump up his stats, see if any of the rotation guys are keepers, and then get Kyrie to join the Lakers next offseason and push the Lakers to use the '27 and '29 for someone who will propel them into the championship conversation.
The only thing that would help right now would be for the Lakers to buy out Westbrook. But as we know, the highest-valued franchise in the NBA isn't known for spending.