Lakers’ Russell Westbrook Deal Shifts Power Back to Los Angeles
As the NBA prepares for the start of free agency negotiations on Monday, a pending hit trade that would send Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers is already vying to be the most impactful deal of this summer.
The Lakers are set to acquire Westbrook, which won the Most Valuable Player Award in 2017, from the Washington Wizards, according to an official with knowledge of the deal who was not allowed to discuss it publicly until it is finalized.
As part of the trade, Washington will receive Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, forward Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious goaltender Caldwell-Pope and the draft rights of Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson, who the Lakers selected with the pick. n ° 22 Thursday. The Wizards will also send two future second-round draft picks to the Lakers.
The proposed trade was first reported by Athleticism.
The trade injects more talent into the Lakers, the legendary franchise that retired early from this year’s playoffs one season after winning its 17th championship.
For once, a business rumor involving Kuzma has proven to be correct. The Lakers’ options were limited due to salary cap constraints and Kuzma, one of the organization’s few local talents, had heard his name in possible business scenarios for years.
The Lakers started their title defense with little rest after winning the championship against the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA restart at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla.
The short break seemed to affect the list. The Lakers played competitively at the start of the 2020-21 season, but hopes for a high playoff standings faded when LeBron James and Anthony Davis missed pieces of the season due to injuries.
The Lakers beat Golden State in a play-in game to qualify for the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Future conference winner the Phoenix Suns beat the Lakers, with a severely limited Davis, in six games in the first round.
Los Angeles has seen inconsistent play from its guards throughout the regular season and playoffs. Point guard Dennis Schroder, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer, scored a total of 8 points in two decisive losses to Phoenix. Caldwell-Pope was a key cog in last year’s title race, but a left knee bruise limited him against Phoenix. Harrell, who won the sixth man of the year 2020 with the Los Angeles Clippers, received limited action in the playoffs.
Westbrook’s addition to the Lakers brings James back to his tradition of playing alongside top guards. In Miami, James won two championships with Dwyane Wade. He won one with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.
Now, he will add 32-year-old Westbrook to his All-Star guard team-mates list. On Thursday, James shared an image of himself, Davis and Westbrook in Lakers jerseys from his Instagram account.
The Lakers have yet to complete their roster by adding shooters who can space the floor, but Westbrook, a California native and walking triple-double threat, should give the team’s perimeter play an immediate boost.
The Wizards traded to Westbrook ahead of last season, parting ways with longtime point guard John Wall as part of a deal with Houston. In Washington, Westbrook reunited with Scott Brooks, who had trained him in Oklahoma City.
For the fourth time in Westbrook’s 13 career seasons, he averaged a triple-double over a season, amassing 22.2 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds per game.
The Philadelphia 76ers ousted Washington from the playoffs in five games in the first round. The organization split from Brooks and hired Wes Unseld Jr. Westbrook deal gives Washington a chance to reset and be flexible as he hopes to retain shooter Bradley Beal, who can become a free agent the next off season.
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