Brick Brodie on the Trade Block

Updated: December 15, 2021
brodie bron

In the City of Angles and the rafters filled with banners that stretch the test of time, this 2021-22 season has been nothing but a string of constant disappointments. Despite the vast majority of talking heads that professionally cover the NBA picking the Lakers to come out of the West…even at times posturing the proposition of the Lakers or the field to make it to the Finals, there are now concerns they may not even make the playoffs. Even the devoted disciplines of the King James Communion have withered in their faith as their iron man has finally met his match with Father Time.

Multiple different lower-body injuries have not only kept Lebron James off the floor but have limited his once marveled athleticism and explosion to the basket. He has become for the most part a jump shooter and an above-average one at that. However, the thing that made him King James only appears to be at his disposal in a finite amount that must be preserved and utilized with careful calculations. There are still those of the faith that believe once winter comes and goes and the warm springs return for the postseason war that their King will resurrect from the Ashes, defeat the play-in peasants, and go head-on with the top seeds of the West.

Through all the mythology and wishful thinking though, it was already assumed going into the season that Bron would be Bron. It is now only an additional variable that must be considered on top of the fact that from very early in the season, a truth that several outside of the religious Klutch circles already were prophesizing, that this roster construction was flawed from the get. The idea of acquiring ex-MVP triple-double demi-god Russel Westbrook was that in combination with the Brow, even with Lebron on the sidelines they should have enough to take apart the lower half of the league with ease. Yet as we all have seen this simply hasn’t been the case as Russ has been one of the worst 4th quarter players in all of basketball.

Now, there are those who have tried to isolate the last 10 games and use his current upswing of stats as proof that they are moving in the right direction and are currently 2 games above 500 slotted as the 6th seed. However, if this was true…then what exactly is this report of their internal discussion of testing the trade market with Westbrook’s 44-million-dollar contract? The truth is the West is simple not as deep as it was advertised. With the Nuggets hampered by injuries and the Luka experience showing up out of shape and underwhelming, the top 5 seeds are at an entirely different level than those below them. On top of that, there are arguments around the league that it is the Suns and Warriors who are the strongest duo in the NBA not the Bucks and Nets tandem of the East.

Lebron James and the Lakers are aware of what awaits them even if they cruise into the playoffs as a 6th seed…at best it will end up being a 2nd round exit getting laid to waste by CP3 or the Baby Faced Assassin. The reason this truth has become so transparent is the shot selection and countless late-game turnovers by Brick Brodie, have proven that Westbrook is possibly the worst fitting star that Lebron has ever played with.

The Sobering Truth

It is an interesting revelation that the Lakers have publicly admitted the lack of fit yet it was something that many of us not only assumed but steaked our reputations on. A ball-dominant, non-shooting, defensive liability of guard next to James is the most illogical equation ever built around the King in hopes of a title. Now it is nice that LA and the front office now have come to their senses and wish to remap the scene, but I dare anyone to spend a few hours in the trade machine and find a mutually beneficial exchange that includes Russell Westbrooks 44 million…not to mention he has a 47 million dollar player option next season. To put things in perspective of how large 44 million dollars is in comparison to a team’s salary across a roster, most benches’ players 6-15 combined make less than Russ’ annual pay. For example, the Warriors’ entire team salary excluding Curry, Klay, Wiggins, and Dray make under 38 million. That is 11 players on the best team basketball currently costing 6 million less than Russell Westbrook.

The key to the equation though is not just the insurmountable size of the contract but the fact that the Lakers have very few sweeteners to attach to this 44 million in order to have a team take it on. They only have their own 2028 pick to trade which is clearly not enough for any team to absorb the contract. The truth of the matter is, outside of another John Wall for Russell Westbrook exchange, there are no trades available. Maybe in the offseason, before this season began some sort of package for Kevin Love and stuff could’ve at least hypothetically been entertained for a discussion. However, Love has played quite well on limited minutes and the chemistry in Cleveland has never been better. OKC has no more gigantic useless contracts and as stated before, the Lakers don’t have the sweets to tie on to the 44 anyways to make the juice worth the squeeze.

Russell Westbrook is a Laker, and he will be until the end of his current 2-year contract. If LA does find a way to move him, it will be the midsts of a rebuild but not as a move that draws them closer to another championship.

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