Lakers Hamstrung by Big 3 Money At Trade Deadline

    • LeBron James admitted they're not a championship team.
    • But L.A. has $120.8 million committed to the Big Three — 74% of the payroll.

A day before the trade deadline, the Lakers appear to be stuck.  

After the Bucks blew them out on Tuesday, LeBron James admitted they don’t have what it takes to be a championship team.

The 9-seed Lakers continue to fall, and while they’re still destined for a playoff appearance, it’s safe to say their superstar trio of James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook hasn’t worked. 

But the necessary changes will be very difficult to make with limited flexibility: Los Angeles has committed $120.8 million to the Big Three — 74% of the payroll.

  • The Lakers’ $163.7 million payroll puts them $40 million above the luxury tax.
  • The Pelicans own all of their first-round picks through 2025 from the Davis trade.
  • They don’t have many valuable assets outside of James and Davis. 
  • Westbrook’s remaining $91.2 million over two years renders him nearly untradeable.

Westbrook’s 18.3 PPG is his lowest since his second season, and he’s leading the league in turnovers (224) — as the highest-paid Laker. And for a second straight game, coach Frank Vogel benched him down the stretch.

The Lakers are also wasting another MVP-caliber season from LeBron. His 22 30-point games are the second-most in the NBA, but Los Angeles is just 11-11 in those.

The King can pressure the front office as much as he wants, but without a real possibility of a season-altering move, the Lakers are looking at an early postseason exit.