Magic Johnson believes it’s crucial for the next Lakers coach to figure out how to maximize Russell Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as he told David Aldridge of The Athletic. Johnson doubts Westbrook’s hefty contract will deliver a palatable package in a trade, so the new coach will need to figure out how best to use the veteran guard in order for the Lakers to make a postseason run next season.
“Well, it only can work, if you’ve got the coach — the right coach. To me, it still comes down to, who’s the coach?” the former Lakers president said. “And, then, also, he’s on a one-year, $47 million (contract with a player option). Even if you offer him (in a trade), what are you, realistically, going to get back? I told them this too — you’re going to get some contracts you probably don’t want, and they’re going to go (chronologically) past his contract. You’ve really got to think about that.”
We have more from the Pacific Division:
- The Lakers have supposedly narrowed their list of potential candidates to replace Frank Vogel to three — Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson. However, Marc Stein reports in a Substack piece that a source close to the situation believes the list under consideration is “still wider” than that trio. Other prominent names could surface or candidates already interviewed for the job may reemerge.
- Luke Loucks has agreed to join Mike Brown’s staff with the Kings, Marc J. Spears of ESPN tweets. Loucks currently works for the Suns in basketball strategy and personnel evaluation. Loucks previously worked with Brown in Golden State and with the Nigerian national team.
- Deandre Ayton‘s agent, Bill Duffy, said in a SiriuxXM NBA Radio interview (Twitter link) that they were “disappointed” the Suns didn’t offer him a max contract extension. However, Duffy is confident his client will get a substantial offer this summer. “Things will work out for Deandre,” Duffy said. “He’s a valuable player and there’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”
21 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Johnson, Westbrook, Lakers, Kings, Loucks, Ayton”
Suns fans need to understand
Who pays $77 million luxury tax next season if keeping Ayton and McGee?
Suns can use 2026 and 2028 Firsts to dump salary of Shamet and Cam Payne
What exactly do suns need to understand? Normally people state something when starting something with that, not ask a question. To answer your questions the suns will pay the luxury tax. Hope that was helpful!
The Suns aren’t giving up draft picks to get rid of players. They will figure it out. James Jones is a better GM than his cousin Lebron James
Strange thing he posted about trading contracts when the Suns do not have any bad long term contracts. Shamet and Payne could be traded for other bench players without giving up a draft pick. McGeee is not getting more than a $5 million deal again. Ayton contract doesn’t put the Suns in a bad situation. Suns actually is in a good position regarding contracts.
Id hope they’d know that already Magic but just in case thanks for the quality advice
He summed it up pretty well
Look at ANY of the Playoff Teams. Not one of them is under the Salary Cap or even close and are paying the Luxery Tax. Then you get the Kings, who are trying to stay under the Cap. These Star Player will Only go to a Winning Franchise who doesn’t seem to care about a Luxery Tax, thus, teams like the Kings will never win a Championship, if they are Only worried about their Pocket Book. The NBA needs to start cracking Down on this going over the Salary Cap, just because they can. It does NOT make the game competitve and doesn’t give the other 20 some teams a chance to compete or have a chance of a Championship if there are Only 8 or so Teams that can, because they have All the Money !! Especially when your Top 3 to 5 Players are making double digit Salaries per season. Like Lebron $42m, Curry $45m per season, like a third of the entire Salary cap for one team, for one player.
Example : The Salary Cap for this season is $115m per Team, the GS Warriors are sitting at $175m for their Roster right now !!
You’re complaining for some reason. The NBA does not have a hard cap like the NHL. They have a soft cap. No One is circumventing the rules.
And the kings are a small-market team. That’s what small-market teams do. Every now and then they will catch fire and do something really good. But for the most part they suck.
Well then rich, the owners should harden the cap in the CBA. The requirements are all optional, pending agreement from the union.
Whose to say that IF (that’s a big if) a star player actually considered the Kings that they wouldn’t be willing to go over the cap? Maybe they are staying under in hopes of possibly landing a star player.
Ayton should be disappointed. In his agent, and himself for listening to the guy. He’d have been operating under a max contract for a year.
Russ should be playing the 2 in LA. He’s not the right PG for that team unless he comes off bench. Which should n will never happen.
Russ cannot play 2 guard no matter what. You’re not going to find a better pg then Lebron James. Westbrook literally offers nothing if the ball isn’t in his hands
If several teams offer him a max contract, Ayton is a max player. Shame on Suns for trying to short chnage him. It’s easy to see that they are happy to be contender, and not a champ.
Trading Westbrook for several overpaid players still seems like an improvement… one of the lakers big problems was Westbrook, but another one of their big problems was a lack of depth. Better to have dead money on 3 mediocre players than on one.
Who knows if any of these guys, Westbrook, Irving, Simmons, Wall, and others, are worth anything in the league anymore. At some point, players have to prove that they are worth what they are getting paid. The team executives cannot keep paying these guys $40 million a year, when those players are not earning and deserving that kind of money, and they are not delivering winning, championship results to the fans.
Ultimately, all of us NBA fans can see through these players and their agents. Not much we can do about it, though.
Magic was not good in the front office or coaching. He’s good as a brand and face but as talking head he just has the wrong take. Westbrook won’t change and the Lakers have limited assets. Plus they could be vulnerable like Cleveland and Miami post LeBron. Move Davis, Westbrook, THT, Nunn and then you can do something. Moving Westbrook still bets that Davis will be healthy again and you can get something reasonable for Westbrook. Lakers need size, perimeter D, play making, and shooting. Say you give up picks, and LeBron leaves for Bronny, and Davis gets hurt again. Good luck!
Look, only way you trade Russ is if you get a better player coming in at a lesser price tag… that ain’t happening, so stick with him, you don’t do trade to get worse if you are trying to win, as simple as!
Will never understand folks wanting Russ traded, just don’t make any sense, like at all!
Warriors run it back
Lakers run it back
Lakers keep big 3 = Run it back
Quote: “Magic Johnson believes it’s crucial for the next Lakers coach to figure out how to maximize Russell Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis…”
Whoever manages to do that shouldn’t waste his time coaching basketball but rather do research at CERN in Switzerland, in order to reveal the last secrets of the universe.
I think Magic is right (this time). Westbrook is good at distributing the ball, attacking the basket, has a high motor and tremendous experience. Also only one year left on his contract which opens up 2 or more free agents for the following season.