The Lakers’ off-season was one of their most turbulent in history. However, it now seems as though things have calmed down—at least temporarily. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook of the Lakers appear to have decided to try and make it work. That is despite many rumors of substantial roster changes.
During the week of the Las Vegas Summer League, the players renewed their devotion to one another over the phone. They believe that they still resembled a championship core.
However, things in LA are tenser than they may seem following a summer of soul-searching that featured coaching changes, player agent upheaval, workout rumors, and a 42-point Drew League performance, so this partnership is more of a marriage of convenience.
Even with the greatest of intentions, the honeymoon phase could not last very long. After all, being polite is simple when the entire season is in front of you. But what if you lose a straightforward game against the Magic at the end of a 2-8 run?
How much longer will the Lakers sing kumbaya? And what must be done to keep Crypto.com Arena from degenerating into a dysfunctional household?
The Reason Lakers’ Big 3 are working together
Simply put, they are left with no choice. If the NBA world hadn’t spent the better part of two months wondering about whether or not the trio would all be in the purple and gold come opening night, seeing this unity from the Lakers’ top players would be reassuring.
Numerous reports have surfaced regarding roster changes. The majority of these changes focused on trying to reunite LeBron with his Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving. This was after Brooklyn experienced their own roster collapse.
But even though the Lakers offered up everyone and anything but LeBron and AD, a deal never materialized. The call from the Lakers’ stars was undoubtedly a sign of faith because Westbrook never formally demanded a trade. It could also mean that they have accepted the fact that they are bound together.
These players may be able to reassemble under Darvin Ham’s guidance after Frank Vogel’s resignation as head coach.
Will the Arrangement Work and for How Long?
LeBron James and Russell Westbrook will both be eligible for unrestricted free agency. At the end of the season, they will be receiving a combined $91,538,466 in salary for this season alone.
LeBron will undoubtedly be eager to sign with the Lakers for a few more seasons. However, there are rumors that James may be considering returning to Cleveland for a second time.
The 33-year-old Westbrook may find it more difficult to find a suitor who will offer him a suitable contract. His perceived self-worth has already caused him stress, as he parted ways with longtime agent Thad Foucher. The reason for that was the alleged disagreements regarding Westbrook’s future.
What the Future Holds for the Lakers?
This off-season, the Lakers have already made significant progress in their peripherals. They started with the appointment of Darvin Ham as head coach in place of Frank Vogel.
From there, they strengthened the roster by bringing in free agents. Players like Malik Monk, Lonnie Walker IV, Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and Troy Jr. joined. Max Christie was also selected by them with the 35th choice.
Ham will have to figure out how to integrate this new group of players around the Laker’s existing Big 3 if a Kyrie Irving trade finally fails, which seems to be the tendency given the dearth of shooting that was brought in.
However, they can at least project as a competitive team, if not one that can actually push for a title. That is if -and that is a major if – both LeBron and AD can stay healthy.