The Los Angeles Lakers were the biggest disappointment of the 2021-22 NBA season, missing the playoffs with a 33-49 record. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is particularly miffed about the way the year played out, given the amount of money she spent trying to build a championship contender.

The Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook last summer, giving the team three players signed to max contracts. With Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the roster, Los Angeles had a payroll of around $165 million with an estimated luxury tax bill of $45.1 million, via Spotrac.

The combination of star power and lofty salaries wasn’t even enough to qualify for the play-in tournament.

“I’m growing impatient just because we had the fourth-highest payroll in the league,” Buss told Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. “When you spend that kind of money on the luxury tax, you expect to go deep into the playoffs. So, yeah, it was gut-wrenching for me to go out on a limb like that and not get the results that we were looking for…I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied.”

The Lakers’ payroll isn’t expected to shrink for the 2022-23 season. Westbrook, James and Davis are still under contract and set to make close to $130 million in combined salary. Talen Horton-Tucker is signed for $10.26 million. Kendrick Nunn is expected to pick up his $5.25 million player option.

It’s no secret that the Lakers would like to move Westbrook’s $47 million salary. Finding a team that is willing to trade for Westbrook will be hard enough. Even if Los Angeles does find a trade partner, the Lakers will likely be forced to take back players who make nearly as much as Westbook.

James and Davis are almost certain to stay with the team. The Lakers are still looking for a new head coach after firing Frank Vogel.

“Having a conversation like that is premature,” Buss said, regarding Westbrook’s future with the Lakers. “We have to now find the right coach to lead this team. Depending on the style of play that that coach wants to play, given the roster that we have, it all has to start to come together.”

The decision to acquire Westbrook was expected to bring better results. Among injuries to James and Davis, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 3.8 turnovers per game over 78 games. The veteran shot 44.4% from the field and 29.8% from 3-point range.

The Lakers are only two years removed from winning the 2020 NBA Finals. In the 2021 playoffs, the Lakers were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in a six-game, first-round series.

With James and Davis healthy for the majority of the season, Los Angeles should be a playoff team. James averaged 30.3 points per game in 2021-22. Davis put up 23.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

James will turn 38 years old next season. It’s been five years since Davis played more than 62 games in a single season.

The Lakers do not have a pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.