Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week we ask questions of the most plugged-in Los Angeles Lakers fans and fans across the country.
While so much went wrong for the Lakers last season, at the center of many of those issues was Russell Westbrook. That debate, though, has long come and gone. At best, he was a net negative for the Lakers and a risk that did not pay off.
The focus heading into this offseason, then, has been offloading Westbrook and ridding the franchise of its mistake. But in their search to do so, the Lakers seem to be taking half-steps, shopping him on the trade market while talking about what his role could be next season.
Much of the reason the team is playing on both sides of the fence is that they aren’t committed to including draft assets to trade Russ. That is the subject of our latest Reacts survey, asking if the Lakers should be including draft picks to shed Russ’ contract in a trade this offseason.
The fact is that Russ is a negative on-court asset — though if you’re feeling oddly daring, his current MVP odds at DraftKings are +30000 — and all of his trade value comes being a massive expiring contract. But the Lakers aren’t simply looking to offload Russ’ contract, they’re looking to bring in rotation players as well.
Those types of deals would likely be on the table if the Lakers would include draft picks. Title windows are very short and the Lakers could still have one with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the roster, but not as long as Westbrook accompanies them. The Lakers can open the window for potentially one more season with the right moves this summer, if they’re willing to make that sacrifice.
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