Lakers Advised to Target Defensive Specialist as Russell Westbrook Backup Plan

The Los Angeles Lakers are open for changes this offseason. They had a disappointing season and yes, Rob Pelinka has to pull out a few moves and fix the damage. The Lakers have been linked to several players, including Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets. Well, Irving may not join the franchise this season. The Lakers may add a defensive specialist as a replacement for Russell Westbrook. Zach Buckley from Bleacher Report reported that the Lakers can get Eric Bledsoe.

“The 32-year-old unceremoniously hit the open market when the Portland Trail Blazers waived him before his contract became fully guaranteed for 2022-23,” Buckley wrote. “He wound up being overpaid on that contract (his full guarantee was for $19.3 million), but at the minimum, he could be a cheap source of point-of-attack defense, playmaking, and downhill driving. His peak is well behind him, but he could still excel in a reserve role on a minimum contract.”

Bledsoe finished the 2021-22 NBA season averaging 9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. He went 42.1 from the field and 31.3% from the perimeter.

Lakers to get defensive specialist and fix a big problem, Pelinka has a backup plan for Westbrook

Irving’s decision to stay with the Nets will affect Westbrook’s future in Los Angeles. Lakers fans didn’t really like Westbrook in the final months of the regular season. They called him names and Russ was really frustrated. If Irving stays in LA, the Lakers may decide to move on with Russ.

“Kyrie Irving opted in with the full intent of playing out next season as a Brooklyn Net,” Shams Charania said. “From everything that I’ve been told, in his mind, he’s playing next year in Brooklyn – with or without Kevin Durant. Irving opted in, there was an understanding that he was going to make the best decision for himself, and Durant will be making his decision as well. From everything I’ve been told, Kyrie Irving has made his intent, he wants to play out next season in Brooklyn and be an unrestricted free agent next summer.”