After a disappointing first season in Los Angeles, it may seem like the Lakers would take whatever they can get in a trade this offseason for Russell Westbrook and his $47MM+ salary, but that’s not the case, Marc Stein writes at Substack.com. According to Stein, Los Angeles will have “more boundaries than advertised” when weighing potential Westbrook deals.
For one, the Lakers will seriously consider a player’s injury history as they explore the trade market for Westbrook. Given how costly injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis were in 2021/22, the team doesn’t want to bring on another high-priced veteran who has been unable to stay healthy in recent years.
In Stein’s view, that means the Lakers are unlikely to be very interested in a trade with the Hornets that includes Gordon Hayward, who has missed 61 of 154 regular season games in Charlotte over the last two years, plus both play-in games. If the Lakers and Hornets discuss Westbrook, it’s possible Hayward could be moved to a third team or Terry Rozier could be substituted as a headliner, but those scenarios would be less appealing from Charlotte’s perspective.
Here are a few more items on the NBA’s two L.A. teams:
- Outside of the previously-reported big-name targets who are currently coaching other teams – including Nick Nurse, Doc Rivers, and Quin Snyder – the Lakers may consider candidates such as Scott Brooks, Terry Stotts, former Lakers coach Mike Brown, and Jazz assistant Alex Jensen for their head coaching vacancy, per Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.
- According to Woike and Turner, people with knowledge of coaching situations around the NBA believe the Lakers‘ open coaching position isn’t looked upon especially favorably, due to concerns about possible front office meddling and the roster/cap situation. “Is the Lakers’ job that attractive?” one coaching agent said. “I’m not so sure it is. But someone will take the job.”
- Getting Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back in their lineup next season will significantly increase the Clippers‘ ceiling, but there are still areas to improve if the team wants to ensure it’s a title contender, says Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group. Fortifying the point guard spot will be an offseason goal, and replacements will be necessary if key rotation players like Isaiah Hartenstein (UFA) and Nicolas Batum (player option) don’t return.
- While Leonard’s and George’s injuries limited the Clippers‘ potential in 2021/22, their absences allowed a handful of young players to step in and grow up fast, Swanson writes in a separate story. Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Hartenstein, Amir Coffey, and Brandon Boston Jr. – all of whom are 25 or younger – had bigger roles than they would have if the team had been healthier, which could pay off for the club down the road.