The Lakers are a hot mess.
In an offseason where LA exhibited high hopes of acquiring Kyrie Irving and moving on from Russell Westbrook, the iconic franchise settled for Patrick Beverley and parted ways with Talen Horton-Tucker. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers will also send Stanley Johnson to the Jazz in the deal for Beverley.
Beverley is a good player for what he brings to the court, but when you previously had your eye on Irving all summer, then wind up with Pat Bev, that’s a severe dropoff. Irving would’ve added another All-Star that can give you 25ppg, although you’d have to be willing to deal with all that comes along with him. In Beverley, the Lakers get a defender and guy that will run his mouth to no end. This isn’t exactly a needle-moving acquisition. The craziest part is the Lakers trading two players for a 30-something small guard that isn’t known for scoring. Rob Pelinka at his finest.
Historically, when the Lakers have set their sights on a star player, they usually get their way. Nothing is 100 percent, but the Lakeshow has won plenty of championships after bamboozling other teams out of their star players.
We can go back to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar going to LA from Milwaukee, Shaquille O’Neal from Orlando, Pau Gasol from Memphis, Dwight Howard from Orlando (with help from Denver and Philly), and even LeBron James a few years ago, although he signed via free agency. LA then traded the farm to New Orleans for Anthony Davis one year later.
Kobe Bryant also falls under this umbrella of Laker acquisitions, even though he played his entire career in Los Angeles. The Lakers were able to work out a deal with Charlotte where they’d draft Kobe and then trade his rights to LA for Vlade Divac. While it certainly didn’t feel like it then, this may be one of the biggest robberies in NBA history.
One time the Lakers didn’t get that big star was the Chris Paul deal. In 2011 Paul to the Lakers was all but official until David Stern stepped in to quiet that noise. So, the Lakers don’t always get their man, but they’ve compiled a pretty good track record when it comes to getting who they want.
So, it’s strange when the Lakers don’t get their way. They’ve gone through their downs like any other organization, but the Lakers usually make it happen when it’s time to bring in that next star.
Another aspect of this Beverley deal is the perceived “beef” between him and Westbrook. These guys have not gotten along well over the years, and now it looks like they could play in the same backcourt. LA has been unsuccessful in finding a trade destination for Russ, as it’s unlikely he’ll accept any buyout offer. The man wants all the money guaranteed in his contract, and I can’t fault him for that.
That puts the Lakers in quite the pickle because they can’t trade or buy Russ out. So, they’re literally stuck with an aging star that doesn’t fit what a LeBron-centric offense requires, which is shooting. Most of us called this out last summer when the trade was announced, but the King got what he wanted. And the experiment failed miserably. Now the team adds a guy in Beverley that Westbrook has little to no regard for.
On top of that, the Lakers dumped Horton-Tucker to get Pat Bev. Horton-Tucker was supposed to be the next breakout star in Los Angeles just a year ago. He was supposed to be the new third option behind James and Davis at one point, and now he’s headed to Utah. Good luck with that.
One thing we can’t accuse the Lakers of is being boring, especially during the King James era. They failed to make the play-in tournament last season and have been talked about in some capacity all summer. If the upcoming season is nothing else, it’ll be drama filled. Then again, there haven’t been too many LeBron teams that weren’t filled with drama in his career.
It kind of comes with the territory.