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Lakers’ backup plan if Russell Westbrook trade fails

Lakers, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard

The Los Angeles Lakers took the spotlight (when do they not?) on draft night by trading for eight time All-Star Russell Westbrook. Westbrook, who’s on his fourth team in four years, now joins the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Hollywood. While there are pros and cons that come with Westbrook’s game, this trio is a basketball experiment that many are looking forward to seeing.

If you’re basing this on a fit and X’s and O’s standpoint, there’s a chance that this trio does not work out. Adding Westbrook lessens the Lakers’ spacing and shooting, something they’ve struggled with in the past two years. Westbrook and James also a similar style of play. 

It has been reported that Westbrook, James and Davis have discussed their corresponding roles, so to dismiss the trio’s fit together would be wrong. But there’s at the very least a chance that this grouping won’t work. These superstar team-ups don’t always work to perfection, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this turns out for Los Angeles.

After giving up some key pieces for Westbrook, the Lakers should still keep their options open if this trio does not work out. They also need to prioritize the little time they have left of James and Davis’ window to compete for a championship. Here’s what the Lakers should do in case this trio of Westbrook, AD and James fails miserably.

1. Trade Westbrook at the deadline

If all else fails by All-Star season, the Lakers could look to trade Westbrook. This is by far their biggest gamble this offseason and they cannot risk any more of James and Davis’ title hopes. Westbrook’s contract is hard to absorb by any team, but it can still be worked on if another star, let’s say by the All-Star break, decides he wants to come to LA. The chances of this happening could be slim but, hey, it’s the NBA, so it’s hard to just dismiss this just like that. 

2. Shop Westbrook in the offseason

Like every LeBron James-led team, the roster changes every year when they don’t win. This offseason’s big move to acquire Westbrook is proof of that. And if it fails this season, there’s a good chance that another big move happens to save what is left of James’ window to win a championship. That big move could be dealing with Westbrook in the offseason.

3. Is Steph or Dame available? 

There’s no question that Lakers fans are still dreaming about the trio of James, AD and either Stephen Curry or Damian Lillard. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, Lillard and Curry remain loyal to their respective organizations, so recruiting them right now feels like talking to a brick wall. If things turn out bad for Curry and Lillard this season once again, who knows what could happen? As mentioned above, it’s the NBA and crazy shocking transactions have happened before. The Lakers don’t have all that much to trade for these superstars, but Los Angeles will monitor the situations.