Brian Windhorst paints bleak picture of Russell Westbrook's market, Lakers' future

By , Audacy

The Lakers won a title in 2020 under the most bizarre of circumstances. So while they did, obviously, do something right over the last few years, we can look back now and clearly see that many of Los Angeles’ moves have proven to be ill-fated.

With no cap space and little draft capital, the Lakers are in an impossible spot after missing the playoffs this year. The additions the Lakers have made simply didn’t work. When they couldn’t land DeMar DeRozan, they traded for Russell Westbrook. DeRozan blossomed with the Chicago Bulls, while Westbrook was an abject disaster for the Lakers. Anthony Davis has dealt with injuries constantly, and in the rare instances when the James-Westbrook-Davis combination was on the floor together, they didn’t jell well.

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So, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that things are a little grim for the Lakers. And during an appearance Wednesday on the “Rich Eisen Show”, ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst explained just how bleak it is.

“That’s why the Westbrook trade is so penal,” Windhorst said. “It doesn’t just hurt because it didn’t work. It hurts, Rich, because it kind of locks them into this. They don't have maneuverability now. LeBron’s first year in LA they missed the playoffs, the signings that they had didn’t work, the team wasn’t  a good mix. But they had young players at the time, they had draft picks.

“They walked away from his first year in LA, they ended up with the No. 4 pick and Brandon Ingram and they turned it into Anthony Davis. And they had cap space, they don’t have any of that now, they don’t have young players to trade. They don’t have draft picks to trade at really any time, they don’t have draft picks to use.

“And Westbrook’s value is negative, there’s no market for him. I think their move is to spin the wheel and eat the sandwich so to speak and hope that you can improve what you’ve got to be competitive and then try again in '23 or '24. I hate to say it, but I just don’t see another way.”

The Lakers not even getting into the play-in tournament is a complete embarrassment for the organization and for James.

They need to figure how to get that team right, but the unfortunate reality for them is there’s no easy path to doing that – and things ultimately could get worse before they get any better.

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