#2 Russell Westbrook lacks a three-point shot
The LA Lakers need three-point shooting. They were near the bottom of the league in three-pointers made (25th) this season and were among the bottom dwellers in three-point shooting percentage (21st) as well.
Adding a player who handles the ball as much as Russell Westbrook does, doesn’t address their need for three-point shooting and is only going to exacerbate their problems.
A career 30.5% three-point shooter, Russell Westbrook will only clog the lanes and frustrate James and Davis when they work on the low blocks.
The LA Lakers forwards will command double teams from opponents, and they have to find shooters who can knock down threes regularly to free them up to do their work in the paint.
Russell Westbrook will only contribute to the LA Lakers’ three-point shooting woes and render their two best players largely ineffective.
#3 The LA Lakers have salary cap issues
Looking at Russell Westbrook’s salary for the next two seasons, it’s ridiculous to think the LA Lakers will absorb another franchise player salary on top of LeBron James’ and Anthony Davis’.
Westbrook signed a five-year, $206.7 million contract with the OKC Thunder in 2018, and he is due $44.2 million next season and $47.1 million in two years.
James and Davis are set to make $41.2 million and $35.4 million next season, respectively. LA Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka already has his hands full trying to form a championship team with the limited space available in the $112 million salary cap for next season. Adding Westbrook to the mix will severely inhibit his spending power.
Furthermore, the rumored sign-and-trade involving Schroder and Horton-Tucker along with Kuzma for Russell Westbrook will hard cap the LA Lakers. They can exceed the cap to re-sign their own free agents. But a sign-and-trade will trigger a hard cap (projected to be at $143 million next season), which would make it nearly impossible to keep their roster intact.
How many championship-caliber role players do you think the LA Lakers can sign with the veteran’s minimum if they lose their own free agents to other teams?
Russell Westbrook may be a nice name to throw around in fictitious trades that have nothing to do with fits and finances. But the reality is that he doesn’t make the LA Lakers championship contenders. Instead, he will diminish their chances of winning the 2022 title.