Well, it's over. It's finally over. The 2012-22 Los Angeles Lakers season will be nothing but a distant memory and a big stain on the franchise's successful history. Now, it's time for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to get back to full strength.
The Lakers enter the offseason with more questions than answers. Fixing their roster will be a tough task with limited cap space and little-to-none draft assets. Even so, the first thing they need to address is clear as day.
Russell Westbrook's mammoth contract will continue to hold them back and limit their flexibility next season. Moreover, it seems like Davis wasn't too pleased with his reluctance to make adjustments.
Anthony Davis On Russell Westbrook: 'Everybody Had To Make Sacrifices'
"People see things when Russ was in OKC and D.C. and how he played," Davis said, per ESPN. "Two totally different teams -- well, three totally different teams. Russ, how he was in OKC, having triple-doubles we necessarily didn't need that this year. Same way he played in D.C.: Brad Beal was out, so it was only Russ and they put guys around him. We didn't need that Russ."
"So everybody -- when I got here, I didn't play the same way I played with Bron," Davis continued. "Bron had to change, everybody had to change. Everybody had to make sacrifices. It was tough for him (Westbrook) to adjust to that."
Davis Says He And LeBron Can Still Win Another Ring
Davis also claimed that he and LeBron have already proved that they can win a championship together, pretty much snubbing Westbrook from the equation. For him, it's all about getting that mindset back and staying healthy:
"I think us two can. We've shown that we can," Davis added. "I don't know that's something we just have to reevaluate in the offseason, upstairs, me and him talking about this season and what we would like to see next season and kind of just figure it out. ... [We will] come together as a group ... to get back to championship mentality that we had our first year."
"So that would be a very interesting conversation just from the standpoint of what changed," he added. "I mean, injuries, but even when we were healthy, I don't think we were able to reach our full potential -- for whatever reason. So I think we want to figure it out and just get back to that championship pedigree that us as players know we're capable of."
Blaming Westbrook for the Lakers' failure isn't fair. He was one of many things that failed and no one, not even LeBron should be safe from criticism this time. But more than looking at the past, they need to put together a plan to make the most of the final year of James' contract.