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It’s fair to say that the L.A Lakers experienced something of a limp end to their last NBA campaign, losing 4-2 in the first round of the play-offs, and efforts are clearly underway to move the Staples Center side a step closer to capturing the crown they won in the previous season.
Having brought in experienced veteran Carmelo Anthony to boost their roster the Lakers have also snagged Russell Westbrook in an excellent trade that has fans of the team salivating at the possibilities that their star-studded line-up could be about to engineer.
This deal, and that of Anthony, has seen the odds on the Lakers’ winning next season’s NBA title rise dramatically. According to odds comparison site sidelines.io, they now sit in the second favorite slot, behind the Brooklyn Nets, at (+400) and this is when staying on top of the ever-changing nature of the sportsbook ecosystem is crucial.
Even before they lost out to the Suns in the postseason it’s fair to say that LeBron James and co didn’t exactly set the world alight during the regular season. Their 42-30 record wasn’t much to write home about and clearly Rob Pelinka knew something had to be done.
The capture of Westbrook, though a smart one, doesn’t come cheap. The trade hands the Lakers three second-round picks from the Washington Wizards but sees Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrel and Kyle Kuzma as well as the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson.
It’s still a deal that makes good sense, perhaps even more so than the picking up of Carmelo Anthony. It creates something of a dream team that the Lakers will only have a short-time to get into action. The overall age range of those of note in Frank Vogel’s line-up are no longer spring chickens.
That means the Lakers will have to hit the ground running if they want to make the most of the great talents that they have in their arsenal.
Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star, is without an NBA ring (much like Carmelo Anthony) and the 2017 NBA MVP will hope he can bring an end to his wait.
The trading in of Westbrook brings together the ‘Big Three’ of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook and frankly the sky’s the limit if they click in a way that is expected.
Westbrook averaged 22.2 pts a game last season and led the league in assists, which was also a career best of 11.7, he also managed a career-high in rebounds (11.5) so it’s not as if the Lakers are getting a player in decline.
The 32-year-old, with 13 seasons under his belt, is one of only four players in NBA history to break 20,000 points and 8000 assists.
You can expect the Lakers, with a renewed swagger, to garner a great deal of column inches next season and you can expect them to make a concerted effort to bring Anthony and Westbrook long overdue NBA rings.