- The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly eyeing to acquire a veteran point guard in free agency.
- According to a report from The Undefeated, the Lakers are eyeing either Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook.
- The Lakers have the second-best odds to win the 2022 NBA championship at +450 via BetMGM.
After failing to lock-up Dennis Schroder to a contract extension during the 2020-21 season, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the hunt for a veteran point guard.
Sure, they still have the opportunity to sign Schroder to a deal this summer during the free agency period but it looks like the Purple and Gold may be ready to move on without him.
Aside from rejecting the Lakers’ reported 4-year $84M offer during the season, Schroder also struggled during the playoffs and didn’t live up to expectations as the Lakers were ousted by the eventual Western Conference winners Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs.
Because of that, the Lakers are said to be shopping for a veteran point guard and according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, the 2020 NBA champions are eyeing both Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
Although those names raise eyebrows, there is a link between the Lakers and the two. Paul and his family lives in Los Angeles while Westbrook was born and raised in Southern California. However, getting either to Tinseltown would be challenging if not very difficult although it’s not impossible.
Chris Paul says he’s no retiring after the longest playoff run of his career ends without a championship.https://t.co/lJ09EoHzVk
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 21, 2021
Paul is coming off the longest playoff run of his NBA career. Despite being already 36-year old and coming off yet another playoff heartbreak, CP3 told reporters at the post Game 6 press conference on Tuesday night that he is definitely not retiring. But although he sounded like a player who is happy with where he is right now, he didn’t say point blank that he will run it back next season with the Suns.
You can’t blame him though. He was two wins away from finally winning his first NBA championship, and in his first trip to the NBA Finals. Prior to this season, Paul has never made it past the Conference Finals and the closest he got to the championship round was with a 3-1 lead against the Warriors in 2018. That ended in a heart break. This year looked like it was his year, but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be.
CP3 has a $44.2M player option to return to Phoenix this season. He is expected to turn it down in order to sign a bigger and longer deal which gives him security. If the Lakers are to acquire him, opting in would be an easier path as it will only need a regular trade. If he opts out, a sign and trade deal could be worked out. Either way, the Lakers would be hard capped and Paul did not join the Lakers last season when he could. After a successful year with the Suns, there’s no indication he wants to leave The Valley.
Looking Forward to Future With Wizards
Russell Westbrook looking forward to future with Wizards, in D.C. https://t.co/DBeSmssdPh
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) June 3, 2021
Meanwhile, Westbrook’s first season in Washington ended in a first round playoff exit. But right after the Wizards were ousted by the Sixers, Westbrook told reporters that he was looking forward to his future in Washington. Having said that though, head coach Scott Brook was fired shortly after that and Brooks was one of the reasons why Russ loved Washington as they go back to their days in OKC.
Westbrook is under contract for two more seasons and there are no talks that the Wizards are looking to move him. However, Spears suggested that the Lakers have been engaging the Wizards in discussions involving Schroder, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kyle Kuzma. But with Schroder and Horton-Tucker free agents, L.A. must engage in a sign-and-trade deal to avoid complications.
But while a Westbrook deal could be consummated, the bigger issue would be his fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Knowing Westbrook’s strengths, spacing could be an issue if he joins the Lakers. Plus, Westbrook is already 32 and due $91M over the next two seasons which would be too pricey. But then again, we don’t know what the Lakers’ plan is, really.
2022 NBA Championship Odds
2022 NBA Championship odds, from @BetMGM:
◽️ Brooklyn Nets: +225
◽️ Los Angeles Lakers: +450
◽️ Milwaukee Bucks: +800
◽️ Golden State Warriors: +1200
◽️ Utah Jazz: +1200
◽️ Phoenix Suns: +1400 pic.twitter.com/PDXogma0i9
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 21, 2021
What’s certain is that the Lakers need stability at the point guard position. When they won the NBA championship, they had the veteran Rajon Rondo alternating point guard duties with LeBron James. This season, Schroder was supposed to ease the load on the aging James and while he did have some success during the regular season, he didn’t have an impact in the playoffs when the Lakers were short-handed by injuries.
The best NBA betting sites have given the Lakers the second-best odds to win the 2022 NBA championship. At BetMGM, they are currently listed at +450, right behind the Brooklyn Nets who are the odds on favorite at +225 and just ahead of the newly-crowned 2021 champions Milwaukee Bucks who are at +800.
After a season where injuries played a big part in their demise, the Lakers are looking to bounce back next season. LeBron James isn’t getting any younger and his window of opportunity slowly closing, the Lakers will go all out to reclaim the championship this season. To do that, they need to get the right point guard to play alongside James and AD.