Russell Westbrook is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers but not everyone is a fan of the blockbuster deal.
Here’s how the whole deal shook out for the Lakers and Wizards:
- Lakers get: Westbrook, 2024 second-round pick, 2028 second-round pick.
- Wizards get: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 2021 first-round pick (No. 22).
Westbrook is a triple-double threat every night and is one of the best playmakers in the game. Last season he averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists, shooting 43.9% from the floor and 31.5% from 3.
While he had a star partner in Washington in Bradley Beal, he’ll now have the help of Anthony Davis and LeBron James, which should give him even more opportunity to put up big assist numbers.
Former NBA head coach George Karl was among those to share a critical take on the trade.
“I’ve always loved Westbrook’s passion and his game,” Karl tweeted. “But I don’t love this trade for the Lakers. It might work out but I will be surprised. They definitely need bench help now.”
Lakers Could Get Veteran Help for Cheap
With the Lakers now tying up a massive amount of salary with Westbrook, James and Davis, Karl has a point. The Lakers will have more than $120 million going to just three players next season in James, Davis and Westbrook.
They’ll have to find help on a budget to fill out the roster, although reports indicated veterans might be lining up to take less in hopes to win a ring. Here’s what Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report had to say about. the situation, via the Lakers Central Podcast.
“The good news for the Lakers is that there is absolutely a large amount of talk from team executives around the league right now that if the Lakers are able to get a Kyle Lowry or make this home run of getting Russell Westbrook and trading Kyle Kuzma for Buddy Hield, let’s say … there’s a lot of speculation right now that seems founded that the Lakers have a ton of veteran-type players ready and interested to come sign on minimum deals and go chase this ring with LeBron.”
DeMar DeRozan has been one star that said openly that he’ll take less to chase a championship and is open to the idea of joining the Lakers.
Lakers Get ‘D’ for Westbrook Trade From ESPN
The Lakers nearly got a failing grade from ESPN for the trade, garnering a “D” for the deal from Kevin Pelton.
“This trade reminds me of a classic scene from the sitcom ‘Arrested Development’ that has since become a meme,” Pelton wrote. “Psychiatrist Tobias Funke notes to his wife, Lindsay, that an open marriage has never worked for anyone he has counseled … ‘but it might work for us.'”
Westbrook has been traded each of the last two offseason, first to Houston from Oklahoma City and then to Washington. Pelton also questions how Westbrook will work in the half-court with James and Davis and did not like the fact that the team gave up two of its better 3-point shooters in Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope. Pelton said he would have rather done a deal for Buddy Hield, which appeared to be imminent at one point before the Wizards swooped in.
“Maybe the Lakers will be the team to figure out the post-Thunder Westbrook fit,” Pelton wrote. “Much more likely, they’ll find out the same thing as the Funkes: It never works.”
Lakers legend Magic Johnson was a little more excited about the move.
“Laker Nation, the blockbuster trade that’s bringing Russell Westbrook to the
Lakers is VERY exciting and will definitely make the Lakers a championship contender next season!”
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