Addressing the Latest Lakers Rumors
There truly is no shortage of headlines when you’re one of the league’s most historic franchises. The Lakers have continued to make waves even though they’re not in the playoffs, with the main storylines being about Russell Westbrook’s future with the team and the search for a new head coach. I’ll be breaking down both of those rumors in this article.
Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors
If there needed to be any more indication that the Westbrook-Lakers pairing was a disaster, look no further than the rumored trade proposals taking Lakers Twitter by storm. The three main teams connected to this fiasco have been the Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets and the Indiana Pacers, and the potential deals with these teams (as well as my thoughts on them) are as follows:
*Screenshots by me
I’ll keep this first evaluation short and sweet: no, just no. It’s deja vu all over again. Plus, why would Pelinka trade one point guard with a horrendous contract who’s clearly lost a step due to injury for…the same type of player who is two years younger? It doesn’t make sense and should not have been entertained in the first place.
These trades with the Hornets look a little better, as they fill two of the Lakers’ biggest positional needs: wing and center. However, as noted in Harrison Faigen’s article for Silver Screen & Roll, the purple and gold are not interested in Gordon Hayward due to — you guessed it — his injury history, a factor that they are taking into account across all potential trades. The second deal with Rozier makes more sense anyway. Even if Scary Terry has had his fair share of injuries, he still gives LA a better two-way facilitator who can actually shoot — a real 3-and-D point guard that they desperately need. Throwing him in the mix with a scoring machine in Oubre and a solid big man in Plumlee greatly benefits the Lakers and gives them a redemptive “win now” move.
This last rumored deal with the Pacers is arguably my favorite out of the group. As CBS Sports’s Sam Quinn notes, Indiana is headed towards a rebuild with their new young backcourt duo, Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte, which makes veterans Buddy Hield and Malcolm Brogdon “expendable.” The Lakers had initially planned to trade for Hield last offseason before jumping ship with Sacramento to get Westbrook from Washington. Now, they get a rare second chance, and have the opportunity to do the Pacers a favor as well. Indy has been trying to get the injury-riddled Brogdon off their books for a while now, and this deal does just that. Brogdon’s versatility as a combo guard coupled with Hield’s shooting would do wonders for the Lakers with LeBron and AD, and acquiring them for a veteran in need of a better situation would honestly be a match made in Heaven. Of course, this trade, like the others mentioned, may not pan out, but it’s still a great idea.
Head Coach Rumors
Now onto the rumors surrounding the Lakers’ coaching search.
Mark Jackson is currently the favorite to take the reins of the franchise, and rumor has it that LeBron wants him to coach, too, according to Sam Amick’s article on the matter (quoted by Sports Illustrated):
“Sources say James would be very enthused by the prospect of Mark Jackson landing the job. But as history tells us, that doesn’t mean it will actually happen.”
No matter how LeBron feels or what the odds say, I think we can all agree that Jackson is not the man for the job. In a three-year stint with Golden State (2011–2014), Jackson coached the boys in the Bay to a 121–109 record in the regular season but fell in respective second- and first-round exits in 2013 and 2014. For a team with such a storied history of winning as the Lakers, it does not make sense to have someone of Jackson’s caliber leading the team “with all due respect.”
Quin Snyder may not be interested in the gig after seeing how the Lakers treated Frank Vogel, which is completely understandable. He’d still be an upgrade over Vogel and fits the criteria the LakeShow are looking for (someone with previous connections to the organization — he was an assistant coach with the franchise in the 2011–12 season). He’s certainly better than another option out there, Doc Rivers.
Now don’t get me wrong, Rivers is a solid coach, but his recent track record in the playoffs is certainly questionable, which is why I’m less open to him taking the helm as opposed to someone like Snyder. However, the best option for the Lakers may also be the hardest to get.
Current Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has recently been thrown into the mix, and he seems like the most ideal fit for a franchise that’s serious about turning things around. Nurse’s Raptors are clearly rebuilding — even if they’re in the playoffs. Is he really willing to wait another four or five years for Scottie Barnes to develop? Or would he rather jump ship to join a “win now” organization? Those questions are really something to consider before blowing off the Nick-Nurse-to-LA rumors entirely.
All in all, these head coaching rumors will be getting more interesting by the day, and we’ll have to see whether one of the four guys mentioned gets the job or a sleeper pick comes out of the shadows.
Both of these stories will certainly keep fans on their toes in the coming months, and the decisions made here will be the catalyst for the rest of the offseason, being a good indicator and arguable deciding factors in the Lakers’ success next year.