The Los Angeles Lakers continue to strike in the early days of the free agency. They can’t trade Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving decided to take his contract with Brooklyn Nets. Things only got worse when John Wall committed to the Clippers shortly after Marc Stein reported the Lakers’ interest, per ESPN.
Wall wouldn’t have been a game-changer, but he would have been worth the risk with a minimum contract. The fact that he shares an agent with LeBron James and Anthony Davis made it even more likely that he would end up with the Lakers. He will now play with the other Los Angeles team. The Clippers currently have a better roster than the Lakers and would have a stronger chance of being title contenders. However, Wall can’t expect to see too much time on the field. The Lakers have much bigger needs across the roster, so Wall could have played a big part.
Chris Broussard of Fox Sports believes the five-time All-Star made a big mistake by choosing the Clippers.
“The Clippers are definitely a good landing spot for John Wall,” Broussard said. “But I think he would have been better off if he had gone to the Lakers. I don’t know if he’ll start for the Clippers. … If they play well, he won’t be seen as a major reason for their success.”
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This is a bad sign for Lakers
The Lakers are generally seen as the team that attracts stars. The Clippers have never even made it to the NBA Finals, but in recent years have convinced famous players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to join them in the Lakers. The Purple and Gold finally got the best of the Clippers when they won a championship in 2020.
The two teams now appear to be on different trajectories. The Clippers had a bad year due to injuries to George and Leonard. Both should be completely healthy once the season starts. They also have a much deeper roster and no contract as bad as Russell Westbrook’s. Wall preferring the Clippers over the Lakers is a disturbing sign.
Can Lakers turn things around?
The Lakers still have arguably the best duo in the NBA in Davis and LeBron when they’re healthy. Those two who only play at the elite level make the team a contender. However, LeBron is entering Year 20 and Davis has missed more than 30 games in each of the last two seasons. They need help keeping up in a fraught Western Conference.
It will be difficult, but not impossible to turn things around. The first thing the team needs to do is get off Westbrook’s contract. He may be a former MVP, but he doesn’t sit well with LeBron and Davis. The team must find wings that can shoot and defend. That’s easier said than done, as every team in the NBA needs those types of players. Fortunately, the Lakers still have the strongest brand in the league. Despite Wall rejecting the team, there are still plenty of players who want to wear purple and gold. The Lakers must hope they get some impact players on discounts or it could be another long season.
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