After weeks of speculation regarding who the Los Angeles Lakers may target this offseason, the team finally landed on Russell Westbrook. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers are sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a 2021 first-round pick to the Washington Wizards for Westbrook, a 2024 second-round pick and a 2028 second-round pick. It was a massive blockbuster deal that not many could’ve seen coming at the beginning of the offseason.
No big Lakers moves happen without LeBron James being consulted and he was clearly happy about the news. The superstar simply posted a picture of Westbrook wearing the purple and gold alongside him and Anthony Daivs.
LeBron and Westbrook have formed a strong relationship over the years so he should fit in just fine in the Los Angeles locker room. The Lakers still have a lot to do this offseason as the roster is looking thin. Trading for Westbrook gives the team a bonafide big three but now they need to fill the roster with some solid role players.
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Westbrook Says Goodbye to Washington
With Westbrook headed to Los Angeles, he’ll be on his fourth team in four seasons. His start in Washington was rough as the Wizards were among the worst teams in the NBA. However, he turned things around and helped lead the team to the playoffs along with Bradley Beal. Despite the two seemingly figure things out, nobody thought the Wizards could be an elite team with their roster. Now that Westbrook has been traded, the team should be better off.
Though his time in Washington was short-lived, the star guard sent a loving message to the city.
Westbrook is from Los Angeles so joining the Lakers is a bit of a homecoming. He hasn’t directly addressed the news quite yet but he did give us a small reaction.
The former UCLA standout now gets to play not far from where he grew up in Long Beach, California.
Was This the Right Move for the Lakers?
Westbrook’s status in the NBA has taken a bit of a hit in recent years. His style looks great on a stats sheet but hasn’t always led to wins. He’s ball-dominant and very aggressive. That might not always work with LeBron also on the court. The Lakers are going to have a lot to figure out this offseason. Westbrook doesn’t fix the team’s biggest issue which is shooting. He’s one of the worst 3-point shooters in the NBA with a career of 30.5% from beyond the arc.
Many will question this move and whether or not it was the right one. In the Lakers’ defense, they’ve been making good moves in the past years and are less than 12 months removed from a championship run. We’ll have to see how the Lakers fill out the rest of the roster before it’s fair to judge the team. If they land a number of great shooters, then the Westbrook addition looks a lot better.