In improv comedy, there’s a rule-of-thumb in which comedians introduce an idea that subsequent participants expand upon. This concept is known as “Yes, and…” because you’re never supposed to say, “No” or “This is a terrible-ass idea.” You’re supposed to encourage this free-spirited creative process by going with the flow—no matter how far-fetched or outrageous it ends up being—to the audience’s delight.
This is exactly what is happening with the Los Angeles Lakers.
When LeBron and them suffered a humiliating defeat in the opening round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, we all knew they’d sound the bells of war once free agency began. What we didn’t see coming was a peculiar trade for their purported savior, Russell Westbrook, who will infuriate fans in record time once they note his inability to play off the ball, make a jump shot, or contribute anything that will be even remotely recognized as efficient basketball.
But while Westbrook is undeniably a terrible fit for the Lakers’ brand of championship hoops, Rob Pelinka, the team’s vice president of basketball operations and general manager, could seemingly give less than a shit and instead has preoccupied himself with waving a glass of Crown Royal XR in the air as he blurts out, “Yes, and!”
To that end, much like Space Jam: A New Legacy, the Lakers have unleashed LeBron’s superhuman powers of coercion to convince a treasure trove of talent to join him on his quest to slay the Brooklyn Nets in the 2022 NBA Finals. Since free agency began almost 48 hours ago, the Lakers have added seven—seven!—free agents to its roster. Each of whom you’re acutely familiar with not only because of their alarming number of previous All-Star nods, but the destruction they’ve wrought to opposing defenses—and, in Dwight Howard’s case, offenses.
Pelinka went to Target for eggs and batteries and came home with:
- Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards
- Carmelo Anthony from the Portland Trail Blazers
- Dwight Howard from the Philadelphia 76ers
- Malik Monk from the Charlotte Hornets
- Kent Bazemore from the Golden State Warriors
- Wayne Ellington from the Detroit Pistons
- Trevor Ariza from the Miami Heat
- Kendrick Nunn from the Miami Heat
How in the hell????
And as if this doesn’t already look absolutely batshit insane on paper, almost every single one of these guys were either snatched up for the veterans minimum or willingly spurned much bigger offers elsewhere to play with King James, who officially just became the longest-tenured Laker despite joining the team in 2018.
With these signings, the Lakers have successfully addressed their glaring need for shooting. But they’ll also deploy a motley crew of incongruent parts who might put jaws on the floor on paper—Monk and Nunn are dueling for the title of the Most Underrated Free Agency Acquisition as we speak—but could be an absolute catastrophe on the floor when they all play together.
There’s also the elephant in the room: age. Simply put, this iteration of the Lakers are old as shit.
I have no godly idea how this will all play out, but admittedly, having too much talent will always be a wonderful affliction to suffer from. Will this ensemble cast deliver a masterful work like Knives Out or some bootleg BET movie? That remains to be seen, but trust and believe that “Yes, and…” created this beautiful mess and will likely be tasked with salvaging it if the Lakers’ upcoming season concludes with disaster.