LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke makes a sensational revelation about Phil Jackson’s plans for the Lakers.
One of the biggest names in the Lakers’ organizational history, Phil Jackson, doesn’t seem keen on having LeBron James in the near future. The Zen Master wants the King to be traded and build around Russell Westbrook.
The 2021-22 season was a nightmare for Lakers Nation, who had entered the season with championship aspirations. Sixteen games below +500, the purple and gold failed to make the play-in tournament. The Lakers had more controversies than wins this season.
Westbrook’s marriage with the team failed from the very go, with the former MVP being a complete misfit. Brodie became an overnight laughing stock with his turnovers and inability to shoot. The former OKC superstar was the subject of endless trolling and name callings.
A 37-year-old James was the only saving grace for the Lakers this season, breaking milestones on a nightly basis. In his 19th season, LBJ averaged 30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 6.2 APG.
Reports of the Lakers seeking Phil Jackson’s consultation had surfaced in the media amid the season. Nonetheless, a recent claim by Bill Plaschke about Phil has surprised many of us.
Phil Jackson wants the Lakers to trade LeBron James.
Having been a crucial part of the Lakers’ heritage, Jackson continues to be consulted on various subjects revolving around the iconic franchise. The Zen Master shares a close relationship with owner Jeanie Buss and has delivered five Larry O’Brien trophies to the purple and gold, including a 3-peat.
Thus it was no surprise to hear murmurs of the front office being in talks with Phil. The Lakers have a lot of backlog work pending ahead of the off-season. The ouster of head coach Frank Vogel was just the beginning, with a series of layoffs expected.
However, a recent report suggests Phil wants the Lakers to build around Russ and trade James.
“I’ve heard that Phil would like LeBron traded,” said Plaschke. “I’ve just heard that. I do know that Phil would like to keep Westbrook and try to make it work with him.”
While there is no doubt that Phil is a top 15 coach of all time, his role as an executive didn’t receive the same ovation. The Zen Master was at the receiving end of a lot of criticism, serving as the President of basketball operations for the NY Knicks.
Thus trading Jame may not be the wisest move considering he continues to play at an MVP level, now entering his 20th season. On the other hand, Westbrook’s style of play doesn’t make him a proper fit for the Lakers.