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Report: Lakers’ front office blaming Klutch, which reps LeBron James and Anthony Davis, for Russell Westbrook trade

Rob Pelinka and Russell Westbrook at Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Russell Westbrook

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 10: General manager Rob Pelinka gives Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers his jersey during a press conference at Staples Center on August 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

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LeBron James and Anthony Davis pushed the Lakers to acquire Russell Westbrook, whose season in Los Angeles was a disaster.

Know who will tell you about it?

The Lakers’ front office.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:

Multiple sources indicate the team’s front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group (representing both James and Davis) for Westbrook.

The Lakers are prolific finger-pointers.

Maybe LeBron/Davis/Klutch pushed the Lakers to acquire Westbrook. But managing the stars’ desires is general manager Rob Pelinka’s job. LeBron and Davis would be far happier now if they were still alive in the playoffs. That would’ve offset any initial disapointment in the team passing on Westbrook.

There’s a logic in acquiescing to LeBron and Davis. If they’re eager to play with someone, that can bring out the best in everyone involved. But Westbrook turned out to be such a terrible fit (in part because his overall ability has declined with age), enhanced enthusiasm wasn’t enough to overcome problems. Pelinka’s job isn’t easy.

To a certain degree, what’s done is done. The Lakers must determine what to do with Westbrook, whose $47,063,478 salary for next season is a significant impediment. Seemingly nobody wants back in Los Angeles next season.

But the blame game can continue. The Lakers’ convoluted internal power structure invites these issues.

Regardless how much culpability he deserves, LeBron still carries clout. He will be eligible for a contract extension this summer. If he doesn’t like how the organization is operating, maybe including criticizing him, he could not sign.