Brandon, there’s an old saying to the effect that you never trade a dollar for its equivalent in change. In the history of the NBA, has there ever been a trade where the team getting the superstar was unhappy?
I would trade Russell, Randle and Lou Williams in a heartbeat. I don’t know enough about Ingram to have any idea if he has a chance to be a transcendent player, but what are his chances of becoming a top 5 player in the NBA?
Holding on to a couple of prospects who have little to no chance of becoming as good a player as Westbrook is just delusional.
To me, Westbrook is the one player the Lakers could build around. Lebron and Chris Paul are too old. Curry can’t play defense and depends on a system that features five guys who can shoot 3’s. Anthony Davis seems too fragile. Harden is even more selfish and plays no defense. Kawhi Leornard is great, but he doesn’t have the alpha-dog personality and energy of Westbrook.
On a bad team like the Lakers, Westbrook will do more to make them competitive than even Stephen Curry, who is dependent upon the system and his teammates who can shoot.
D’Angelo Russell doesn’t have the athleticism to ever be a good defensive guard. In his dreams, he could be a more pass oriented version of James Harden, but these kinds of players will never win championships.
If you want to build a great team, you have to answer two questions:
1) Do you have the best player on the floor on any given night?
2) Do you have a player who creates mismatches at his position that force the opponent to change their normal style of play?
With the exception of Cleveland and Golden State, Westbrook will be the best player on the floor in every game. And, with his incredible energy and aggression, he creates a mismatch against every team, neutralizing even great players like Chris Paul and Stephen Curry.
With Westbrook on the Lakers, they become a viable free agent destination again. In two years, Westbrook will be 29, still at the height of his abilities. Add a couple of pieces and they are a playoff team. Add one more superstar, and they’ll be a contender.
Sadly, the Laker management has proven over and over again that they don’t have the ability to make moves that will make the team relevant again.