It is common knowledge that, according to multiple reports, LeBron James pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to trade for Russell Westbrook last summer.
The trade was widely considered a failure, especially since the Lakers gave up two key role players in Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Both were key members of L.A.’s championship team during the 2019-20 season when it came together to win it all and was a whole that exceeded the sum of its parts all year.
But now, the team has a huge lack of 3-point shooting and wing depth as a result.
ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith went off on James following the Lakers’ 0-2 start to the new NBA season.
“You had Kyle Kuzma,” Smith said. “You had Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. They were members of the championship team, who by the way can put up buckets from the perimeter.
“And you were one of the people that encouraged the Lakers to unload that, so you could get a brother in Russell Westbrook that you yourself was on the court in Houston, in the bubble, in the playoffs against them saying he with us. Every time he had the ball.”
Although the Lakers fought hard versus both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, they fell short in both contests, mainly due to their inability to hit 3-pointers.
Caldwell-Pope is a great 3-point shooter, and although Kuzma’s outside shooting has always been inconsistent, his ability to score and his effort on the defensive end would’ve helped L.A.