Rob Pelinka has only one mission between now and the resumption: find reinforcement for the Lakers, and a big name preferably. Russell Westbrook is expected to make the reverse trip, except the Angelinos can’t find anything yet. Still, according to an LA Times reporter, the franchise attempted a market bluff. Not sure that makes a big difference.
Damian Jones, Lonnie Walker, Juan Toscano-Anderson or Thomas Bryant, these are the first signings of the Lakers at the start of the summer. Minor moves, which will not make a big difference for the title next year. We are talking here about players who should come off the bench, even if their impact can be very interesting, especially in defense. The priority is elsewhere, like the simple fact of maintaining Anthony Davis in good health.
If the inside gets injured, we already know the Angelinos will have a tough time, even with LeBron James around. Only unknown? Russell Westbrook, who does not even know where he will play in a few months. He remains a Laker to this day, but he knows full well that his name comes up in a few trade talks, with Rob Pelinka looking for a way out for him. For now, it’s not working.
A possible surprise for the Lakers?
We know that the leader has discussed with the Nets, for Kyrie Irving, or with the Pacers. We are talking here about two players in return, namely Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. But there again, impossible to find an agreement, which worries the supporters. Can Pelinka surprise the fans between now and the resumption? According to Dan Woike of the LA Times, that’s the message the team wants to send to the league.
If Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell are traded, and more importantly when, this will create a little more room for a Russell Westbrook trade. Sources close to the Lakers insist that they have many options regarding a trade, beyond those that have been discussed (Irving, Hield or Turner). Time should tell more.
A bluff? Possible. The Angelinos want to make it look like there are multiple options to let go of Westbrook, which is unlikely. His 47 million contract scares the world, which means that the franchise will probably have to drop two first rounds of draft to open up new possibilities. But again, it’s about improving this roster, not weakening it.
It should be remembered that at the latest news, the priority of the Purple and Gold remains Irving. His file is on stand-by pending Kevin Durant, which may explain why the Lakers are procrastinating. But if nothing moves before the start of training camp, the unofficial deadline for trades, we can think that Pelinka will take action elsewhere. It remains to be seen whether he will find the rare pearl, allowing him to dream of a title.
The Lakers aren’t under pressure with Russell Westbrook, that’s what they want people to believe. The franchise has many trading possibilities, but everyone prefers to play the clock for now. We should see movement in September, at least if Rob Pelinka finds something satisfactory.