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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Report: Lakers’ front office pointing finger over Russell Westbrook trade

Russell Westbrook warms up

Oct 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook prior to the preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers would not have traded for Russell Westbrook last offseason if LeBron James did not, at the very least, provide his stamp of approval. Now that the deal was a disaster, it would appear that all of those involved are hesitant to claim responsibility for it.

According to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, the Lakers’ front office has internally been pointing the finger at Klutch Sports Group for the Westbrook trade. Klutch Sports represents both James and Anthony Davis. Lakers executives are reportedly claiming they made the deal primarily because of pressure from the two star players.

It goes without saying that the Lakers want to keep LeBron happy. Star players have seemingly more power than ever in the NBA, which is why general managers and executives often consult them on roster decisions. If a team goes against the wishes of a star player, that player might demand a trade or refuse to sign an extension.

All that said, it is ultimately the front office’s responsibility to make the moves that are best for the franchise. If Lakers executives thought trading for Westbrook was a bad move, they should not have done it. If they agreed with James and company that it would help the team, they are just as much to blame.

Westbrook’s erratic shooting and overall poor play was one of L.A.’s biggest issues this season. LeBron has already tried to shield himself from blame over the trade, but the reality is he and some of those who work above him misjudged the situation badly.


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