The Los Angeles Lakers had a chance to make some moves in the offseason, but they didn’t do much. Russell Westbrook was the biggest trade candidate this summer and fans wanted him out. Westbrook’s struggles triggered an avalanche of reactions, but Rob Pelinka wasn’t happy with the offers he received. NBA teams wanted Russ and a couple of first-rounders. It was a big no for the purple and gold, but things changed overnight. The front office agreed to use first-rounder picks but negotiations got stuck in the middle of nowhere. The Lakers are now criticized for passing a trade for an All-Star.
Truth is, Pelinka could easily trade Westbrook. It seems like the Lakers wanted to see if Darvin Ham finds a way to use the veteran. Westbrook hit the bench and Ham didn’t mind benching him at the end of the last two games.
The Lakers could trade for the All-Star and benefit from the move
John Wall is one of the players who almost joined the Lakers through a trade. It was a good option for the Lakers and Wall is an excellent player. Sam Quinn from CBS Sports criticized the Lakers for passing Wall.
“But the rejuvenation of John Wall is looking especially frustrating to Lakers fans because he quite easily could have been wearing purple and gold on Thursday,” Quinn wrote on October 21, 2022. “After an entire offseason dominated by the discourse surrounding Russell Westbrook trades involving two first-round picks, it’s worth noting that the Lakers potentially could have dealt Westbrook last February for no more than a pick swap. Wall, already traded for Westbrook once in 2020, would have been the return. Depending on the construction of the trade, the Lakers could have retained both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to use in future deals.”
Wall is having a really great start of the regular season. He is averaging 16 points, 3.5 assists, two rebounds, and one steal in his two games with the team. The Clippers offered him a two-year deal worth $13.2 million.
Quinn doesn’t believe that the Lakers would trade Russ for Wall.
“In this case, even hindsight isn’t 20/20. Wall likely would have been a good deal better than Westbrook for the Lakers,” Quinn added. “At the very least he’s never shot 0-of-11 from the field. But he would’ve deprived them of mid-season optionality on the trade market, and he’d have posed similar, if less extreme, problems. If given the chance to go back to last February and change their minds on a proposed Wall deal, the Lakers likely say no a second time.
“Still, watching Wall thrive as a Clipper will invite second-guesses to that decision. The Lakers could have had Wall. The Clippers are extremely thankful that they don’t. In Thursday’s tight 103-97 Clippers victory, that might have been the difference.”