Smith: Westbrook, Beverley Don’t Deserve Rings If Lakers Win Title

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The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the most impressive stories in the NBA this season. After starting the year with a 2-10 record, the team snuck into the playoffs via the play-in tournament, and now find themselves favored in their 2nd round series against the Golden State Warriors.

SAS: Westbrook And Beverley Don’t Deserve Rings If Lakers Win

It took some serious roster shifting during the season. The tides truly turned for the Lakers during January and around the trade deadline, when they acquired guys like D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Rui Hachimura among others. But it may have been the addition by subtraction that aided Los Angeles the most.

During their flurry of transactions, the team got rid of guards Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook, and the Lakers benefitted. Starting on the day they were traded (February 9th), the Lakers went 18-8 to close out the regular season, and glided past the 2nd-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in Round 1.

Technically, both Westbrook and Beverley played for the Lakers long enough to be eligible to earn a championship ring should Los Angeles end up winning the title. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith thinks that it is a ridiculous notion.

“Are you kidding me?…The reality is that the Lakers are better without you than they were with you.”

Just because they are eligible, though, doesn’t mean it is a for sure thing. If the Lakers do happen to win the championship, they can turn down the idea of giving Westbrook and Beverley a ring each. In the same vein, the players can turn down the offer should the team extend it.

It Has Happened Before…

It has happened before, most notably with Anderson Varejao and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The center spent 12 years with the Cavs before being traded during the 2016 season. He eventually signed with the Golden State Warriors for the remainder of the season, who wound up meeting Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

That historic series saw the Cavaliers come back from a 3-1 deficit and was one of the most talked-about championships in league history. Varejao was on the losing end, but his former team offered to invite him back to receive his championship hardware. Varejao declined.

The Lakers still have plenty of work to do before this is even a possibility. They are currently entrenched in a series with the defending champions, and would face an uphill battle in order to win the NBA Championship. They are currently the third team listed for the best title odds, coming in at +425 behind both the Nuggets (+400) and Celtics (+175).

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