Seriously strengthened in the exchange market.
It is unlikely that even Lakers fans will argue that the title in the bubble is the most controversial in the last decade.
But he raises questions only because of the long preparation of the teams, which allowed all clubs to approach the playoffs in an unprecedentedly optimal state.
LeBron understood that one traumatic star in his teammates would not be enough for him for a new championship campaign – and, once again making sure of this in the series with Phoenix in 2021, he began to look for options to strengthen the roster. Among the real options then available were Heald, Lillard and Westbrook, and LeBron decided to take a chance by picking the past pick Russ, who had helped the Lakers get past Houston in that same bubble.
Obviously, this was a mistake: the team fell apart from the inside, Westbrook could not find a place corresponding to his ambitions, and the club’s next cycle was rapidly coming to an end.
Now they tried to fix this error:in a three-way trade, the Lakers traded Westbrook to Utah for a package of Malik Beasley, DiAngelo Russell, and Jarred Vanderbilt.
A little later, the club also participated in another deal – a four-way one: the Lakers sent Patrick Beverley to Orlando, Thomas Bryant to Denver and received Mo Bamba, Davon Reed and a bunch of second-round picks.
And, judging by the first matches, it turned out to be a completely combat-ready team, but LeBron himself suddenly flew out with an injury: in a match with Dallas, he unsuccessfully stepped on his right foot and suffered a tendon injury. The most optimistic estimate is that LeBron will miss at least another two and a half weeks.
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