With the trade deadline 24 hours away and another loss under their belt, the Los Angeles Lakers are feeling urgency to make some substantial changes to a roster that has not worked as initially planned.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the past few weeks, if not longer, has had the organization looking to make some big changes at the trade deadline in an effort to get the team, built with a title in mind, back on track following their 131-116 loss to the NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks.
“It tells me we ain’t on their level,” Lakers forward LeBron James said following the game. “I mean, I could have told you that before the game.”
“Obviously you always kind of use games to see where you are at that moment, but we know where we are at this moment: sitting at a couple, few games under .500,” James continued. “Haven’t played the basketball that we’d like to play.”
There also seems to be some tension between Lakers cornerstones James and Anthony Davis, and big ticket offseason acquisition Russell Westbrook, who has not fit into the Lakers system and appears to be on his way out of town.
“Listen, I want to help AD, I want to help Russ. AD wants to help me, help Russ, and Russ wants to help us,” James said. “Obviously, lately, Russ hasn’t felt like he had an opportunity or with the opportunities he’s been given he hasn’t helped us as much as he would like. We haven’t done a great job of helping him.”
Westbrook was again limited during crunch time, but didn’t sound as willing to go with the plan this time around.
“I shouldn’t have to hit any benchmark, to be honest,” Westbrook said. “I’ve put a lot of work and I’ve got a lot of respect in this game. I don’t got to hit a benchmark, or I shouldn’t have to. I’ve earned a right to be in closing lineups.”
“There’s still a lot of basketball to be played,” James said. “There’s still an opportunity for us to make a mark on this season, but it’s going to take some, it’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take a lot. But nothing is worth having if it’s not worth working for.”
“I don’t think we’ve given up on this. I know we haven’t. I don’t think — I know we haven’t” Davis added. “Like Bron said, we got a lot of basketball left. We can turn this around, but it’s going to take a lot of work. To do it, it’s going to take us as a team, collectively to do so. We got to buy in. We just got to, everyone go out there and play for each other. Play hard. Play selfless. And try to turn this around before it gets really bad.”