The Russell Westbrook experiment in Los Angeles has yet to click, and I’m not sure it ever will. LeBron James’ absence from games due to injury doesn’t help, but things were already tense even when he was on the field. Acquiring Westbrook was a decision made by LeBron instead of trading for a much better shooter in Sacramento in Buddy Hield.

I’d like to know what James and the Lakers were thinking when this deal was approved. Sure, all of the old man jokes are getting tired, but it’s not a lie. Perhaps this is why James took offense to it before the season began and took to social media to call out his detractors.

On the court, however, Westbrook does not fit in with this group. To be honest, I keep wanting to give this thing a chance, but the horrible fit just jumps off the screen every time they play. The Lakers were recently defeated by the Portland Trail Blazers, dropping them to 5-5 on the season. Anthony Davis left the game after only seven minutes due to a stomach illness unrelated to COVID-19. This should have been Westbrook’s game to take over and go off. Instead, the Lakers were defeated by a score of 15 points, with Westbrook recording a triple-single.

When Russ is on the floor, the Lakers offense looks forced. Westbrook appears to be holding back for some reason. When James and Davis are on the floor in any combination with Westbrook, I can see why. However, if both players are unavailable, Westbrook must take over the game and put this team on his back. Allow Russ to cook on occasion. Obviously, that’s a different Russ, but the phrase is also applicable here.

The Lakers must find a way to let Westbrook do his thing, especially when the two big dogs are unavailable. This team’s lack of chemistry is appalling. Westbrook scored nine points against the Blazers, which is ten points less than his season average this season. He may need more time to get a sense of the situation in Los Angeles, but we should see improvements as time goes on. So far this season, I don’t believe they’ve improved much from game one to game ten.

The Lakers will, indeed, give it some more time, but if this team is still hovering around.500 as the All-Star break approaches, it may be time to seriously consider other options at the trade deadline. Contact the Kings again to see if Hield is still available and to determine the cost of acquiring his services. As a cruel joke, Rob Pelinka should contact the Brooklyn Nets about trading Kyrie Irving for Russell Westbrook.

But, in all seriousness, the Lakers will have to make a difficult decision soon if the team’s chemistry and production do not improve. There’s no shame in it if it doesn’t work out for Westbrook and the Lakers. LeBron will be relentlessly chastised on social media, but he should be used to it by now.

If James wants his fifth ring and Finals MVP, he’ll have to admit he was wrong about his ability to win with anyone. With the Lakers as they are now, it doesn’t appear that James will be able to win a championship. I know it’s difficult to admit, but Westbrook must go if James is to win another ring in Los Angeles.