The Washington Wizards agreed to send Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers. Washington is also sending a 2024 second-round pick and a 2028 second-round pick to Los Angeles. Los Angeles are sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No.22 pick in Thursday night’s draft. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news during 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
What This Means for LA
For the Lakers, this trade covers multiple holes in the roster. To begin with, Los Angeles has a viable playmaker besides LeBron James. This is important for the Lakers forward for the fact that James is getting up in age. Although James will still be an intricate part of the Lakers offense, it’s nearing the time for him to take a step back. With the likes of Westbrook on the roster, this is the perfect scenario for James.
Just like James, Westbrook is a constant triple-double machine anytime he steps on the court. He can score at will (especially in transition), can set up teammates for easy baskets as well as being the best rebounding guard of all time arguably. However, where I see Westbrook being the most effective is with his intangibles. Since coming into the NBA, Russ has always played with a ferociousness like no other. This play style generally has amped up the play of both him and the entire team.
The player who will benefit the most from this trade is easily Anthony Davis. Davis is the perfect match for Westbrook, especially in the pick and roll. Westbrook has made his bread and butter in the pick and roll. This was especially evident in his time alongside Steven Adams. Now with the best big man he’s ever had in Davis, the sky’s the limit for these two. Not to mention that Westbrook will in Davis’ ear to encourage the Lakers’ big man if he’s having a rough night as well as give him an ear full when he settles for jump shots instead of attacking the paint.
Another reason as to why this will work is because of James’ presence. Westbrook hasn’t had a teammate of LeBron’s caliber since Kevin Durant. However with James being older and understanding the game to another degree, this gives Westbrook an opportunity to learn from him. Ultimately, this opportunity has the potential to bring Westbrook’s play to another level.
Although Westbrook has had his share of playoff fallouts, he still gives his all. The only problem that is present in this trade is the IQ aspect. By this I mean understanding when to shoot and when to pass. How to make the right play instead of forcing a play. Next to James and Davis, Westbrook I believe that this won’t be as much of a factor as years past. Especially since this is going to be the closest to winning a championship since playing with Durant in OKC. Overall, the Lakers won this trade for the simple fact that Kuzma, Harrell and KCP don’t equal the amount of production that Westbrook brings.
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