The Cleveland Cavaliers have a natural connection to the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James is the greatest player in franchise history, and in 2018 he left the Cavs for Southern California to spend the rest of his prime playing in Forum Blue and Gold. Yet the Cavs should be taking notes not on LeBron, but on another one of his Lakers teammates.
In the offseason of 2021, Los Angeles made the puzzling and doomed decision to trade the depth of their title-winning team for Russell Westbrook. The results were disastrous, with the Lakers missing the playoffs entirely. With LeBron James another year older, the Lakers knew they had to come up with a different plan this year.
The Lakers made the decision to move Russell Westbrook to the bench. The Cavs should follow their lead and move this player out of the starting lineup
One option was to trade Westbrook, and the Lakers certainly explored that, reportedly getting right to the finish line on a deal with the Indiana Pacers before backing off. Yet if Westbrook stays on the team, the best option would have to be moving him to the bench. His fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis is too poor for this team to have any chance otherwise.
That finally looks to be happening, with the Lakers’ new head coach Darvin Ham bringing Westbrook off the bench in the team’s final preseason game, and it looks like that will be the plan moving forward. It’s a tough sell for any player but especially one with an expectation of starting and playing such a prominent role.
The Cavs should take absolutely no advice from the Lakers on trades or on minimum signings, but they should consider following the Lakers’ lead on this one issue. They have a player in line to start who would benefit the team more by coming off of the bench.
That player? Caris LeVert.