Inner Sun Pass: While Lakers falter early, Russell Westbrook’s business potential remains

It’s been one week into the NBA season and teams across the league are still working to find a foothold on and off the field. Playing and alternating styles are still being recognized. It’s still too early to make changes in most positions, and as front office officials travel with their own teams, attend scouting draft events and begin to identify potential trade targets for the season, everyone involved understands that the trading market tends to take 20- to 30-game games to develop.

Competing teams work on themselves internally while spectators play in the post-season for strong starts to the season. Even in the midst of competition, buyers and sellers always reveal themselves as the campaign approaches the February trading deadline.

In the middle of all this year, the Los Angeles Lakers stood up.

Starting at 0-3, the Lakers will be a pivotal team in the commercial market for this season because expectations are that the franchise will continue to screen options with Russell Westbrook’s expiring $47 million deal and up to two unprotected first-round picks (2027, 2029). ). The Lakers lost to the Trail Blazers, 106-104, on Sunday – giving up their 98-90 lead with 4:42 left, when head coach Darvin Hamm Westbrook returned to the game.

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Inner Sun Pass: While Lakers falter early, Russell Westbrook’s business potential remains

After Sunday’s game, Hamm and Westbrook answered questions about Westbrook’s fourth-quarter assignment, which included missing both the shot attempts and the 16-foot jump the previous league’s best player took — and missed — with 30 seconds left in the game and 18 seconds in the match. Shot clock with the Lakers until 102-101.

The Lakers were impressed by Hamm’s coaching acumen, his no-nonsense attitude and ability to emerge as a reference figure when he went through the head coaching quest. These traits have been tested since the beginning of his tenure.

as such the athleteJovan Boha reported in August that Hamm had been given the authority to seat Westbrook over matches, possibly removing him from the starting line-up. Sources say Hamm was the only candidate for training to express the audacity needed to be able to take Westbrook off the bench when needed. Westbrook was used as a reserve in the final pre-season game in Sacramento on October 14, but the Lakers returned to Westbrook at the starting point to start the season.

In the very early stages of the season, Westbrook had some strong impulses in self-defense and energy representation, but also only fired 28.9% from the field and 8.3% from the 3-point ground. As a team, the Lakers only shoot 21 percent of 3. While Anthony Davis and LeBron James played at their usual high early in the year and Looney Walker 4th and Juan Toscano Anderson were bright spots, the Lakers are still trying to find the best courses to shoot and make games around the Big 2 .

The Lakers and Pacers have widely discussed a potential deal that would send Miles Turner and Buddy Heald to Los Angeles during the holiday season, such as the athlete Reported in early October, but no agreement was reached before the training camp. The Lakers and the Pacers discussed several packages, but Indiana’s demand for both Lakers first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 prevented the deal from coming to fruition. Turner suffered a sprained ankle during the warm-up before the Pacers’ season opener last Wednesday, but is expected to be back soon.

In an ideal world, the Lakers would have hoped Westbrook would find a complementing role in an important system, but as sources said the athlete Over the past month, the organization has planned to keep an open mind with business opportunities to improve the team. Potential trading partners across the league wanted one or two unprotected first-round Lakers in all bargain frameworks, creating a battle over price and value.

Several other trade routes are expected to open as the season continues, as teams exit the post-season race and turn their attention toward top potential players Victor Wimpanyama and Scott Henderson.

Charlotte’s Terry Roosier has emerged as a commercial target for the Lakers in the off-season and interest in him remains high, according to multiple sources. the athlete. The Lakers and the Hornets have had discussions about a potential three- or four-team trade over the summer, and have largely factored in between potential trade possibilities, but the availability of a dynamic Hornets guard will depend entirely on the franchise’s future direction and play as the season continues. Although LaMelo Ball was sidelined with a Grade II ankle sprain and Rosier recently suffered a sprained ankle, the Hornets and coach Steve Clifford were knocked out 2-1 in the Eastern Conference.

Sources said the Lakers have also had preliminary discussions with Tottenham in recent weeks, showing interest in the 3-D winger Josh Richardson. The 6-foot-5 Richardson averaged nearly 13 points to start the season, scoring 47.1 percent on 5.67 three-point attempts per game. So we expect the Lakers to continue to keep tabs with Tottenham Hornets and Pacers as a potential trading partner as the season approaches.

For now, the Lakers seem determined to give the current roster an adequate sample size of 20-25 games and assess their needs. Rob Pelinka, the Lakers vice president of basketball operations, is tasked with balancing the team’s current situation against the future when using only first-round picks eligible to trade for the rest of this decade. And for the Lakers, the right deal will require patience, strategy, interior determination and growth.

More NBA news and notes as the season begins…

Sources said Timberwolves and quarterback Nas Red have been engaged in contract extension talks as Red begins their fourth season.

Minnesota has also been involved in extension discussions with guard Jaylene Noel, but the fourth-year guard is expected to skip a new deal and enter unrestricted free agency outside next season, according to sources. Noel, a dynamic scorer, is averaging 15 points in three games to start this season.

In addition to the Hawks, sources said, the Suns were recently engaged in talks with Bucks about a possible trade for Jay Crowder. Milwaukee has registered an interest in the veteran striker who has stayed away from the Suns organization as both sides work toward the trade. Miami is also believed to be among Crowder’s current suitors, according to league sources

(Top image: Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

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