Russell Westbrook is reportedly set to become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to reports from The Athletic's Shams Charania and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers have reached an agreement to acquire Westbrook and two second-round picks from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Washington Wizards have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook, 2024 second-round pick, 2028 second-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and No. 22 tonight, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 30, 2021
Westbrook, 32, is coming off of a season in which he averaged 22.2 points, a league-leading 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds over 65 games with the Wizards. The 2020-21 season also saw Westbrook become the league's all-time triple-double leader, surpassing Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson on May 10.
The 2017 NBA MVP's play helped lead the Wizards to a spot in the Play-In Tournament, where they would go 1-1 to earn the East's No. 8 seed and a first-round date with the Philadelphia 76ers. While Washington fell in five games, Westbrook posted averages of 19.0 points, 11.8 assists and 10.4 rebounds in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
It would be a homecoming for Westbrook, who attended Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, CA before spending two seasons at UCLA. Westbrook has two years and $91.2 million remaining on his contract, with the second year being a player option worth just north of $47 million.
For the Wizards, plenty of production is coming in return. Harrell, the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year, posted averages of 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in a reserve role, while Kuzma is coming off of a season in which he averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds over 68 games.
Caldwell-Pope appeared in 67 games (all starts) for the Lakers last season, averaging 9.7 points while shooting 41.0 percent from deep.
As for contracts, Kuzma has two years remaining and a player option for the 2023-24 season, Caldwell-Pope will become a free agent in 2023 and Harrell will enter free agency in 2022.
NBA.com Staff reactions
Gilbert McGregor ( @GMcGregor21 ): …What?
I'll be honest, when I first hear murmurs of Westbrook-to-LA potentially happening, I tuned them out, I didn't see it happening. Now that it's really real, the situation has understandably resulted in more questions, but it's certainly intriguing.
At this point, we know what Westbrook's limitations are, he'll turn 33 this season and hasn't been the most efficient shooter in his career. Spacing has long been an issue for this Lakers team, and it will still need to be addressed.
Now that that's out of the way, I'll look at the positives in that Westbrook is a one-of-one, coming off a season in which he averaged a triple-double for the fifth (!) time in his NBA career, breaking the all-time record in the process.
A nine-time All-Star and former MVP, Westbrook knows how to play the game, and it'll be intriguing to see how he adapts to play alongside two All-Stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers have long needed a secondary playmaker and in the ball-dominant Westbrook, may have gotten a primary guy in the process, which will beg questions surrounding how both James and Davis play off of his playmaking.
If nothing else, the Lakers will have their answer as far as playmaking and shot creation in the minutes when LeBron rests.
We'll see if this is just LA's first move with more in mind. It's hard to completely judge until we know for sure.
Kyle Irving ( @KyleIrv_ ): Well, that escalated quickly.
When it was originally reported that the Lakers were working on a similar deal with the Sacramento Kings for Buddy Hield, I loved the idea of Los Angeles adding 3-point sniper of his calibre. With that being said, when you can add a competitor like Russell Westbrook to a tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, I understand why the Lakers chose the deal they did.
Yes, Los Angeles will need to find some pure shooters to space the floor for that star trio, but I never would have thought James, Davis and Westbrook would play on the same team unless it was an All-Star Game or with Team USA.
I can't wait to see what LeBron and Russ look like as a backcourt tandem.
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