Sources: Lakers agree to Westbrook blockbuster

iCrackStreamsJuly 30, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal with the Washington Wizards to acquire Russell Westbrook in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Wizards are sending 2024 and 2028 second-round picks to the Lakers to complete the deal, sources said.

Harrell opted into his $9.7 million player option for next season earlier Thursday, paving the way for the trade.

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    The Lakers also had talks with the Sacramento Kings on a possible Buddy Hield deal involving Kuzma and Harrell, sources told Wojnarowski, but ultimately turned to Westbrook.

    Westbrook will join LeBron James, Anthony Davis & Co. in Los Angeles, giving the team a nine-time All-Star point guard. Westbrook, who turns 33 in November, has averaged a triple-double in a season four times in his career, including this past season. He gives the Lakers two of the top five players in career triple-doubles: Westbrook has 184, James 99.

    Westbrook’s playmaking ability can help the Lakers. L.A. ranked 18th in points per game created off assists in 2020-21. Westbrook has led the NBA in that category in three of the past four seasons, with the lone exception being the year he spent with James Harden in Houston.

    Dennis Schroder ran the point for the Lakers this past season, but he turned down the maximum extension the Lakers were eligible to offer him during the regular season to pursue a more lucrative deal as a free agent this summer.

    Westbrook, who is from Southern California and played at UCLA, has been intrigued by the idea of returning to his Los Angeles roots, sources said. He’s owed $44.2 million this season; the Westbrook-James-Davis trio would combine to earn $121 million in 2021-22 — 19 entire teams will earn less heading into free agency.

    Trade Machine.

    As for Washington, the deal was made with Bradley Beal in mind; it creates some salary-cap flexibility for the future to add talent around the star guard, sources told Wojnarowski. Beal is entering the last year of his contract and is poised to be a free agent next offseason.

    The trade would open up north of $25 million in room for Washington in 2022-23.

    News of the deal had an immediate impact at sportsbooks. Per Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, the Lakers moved from 4-1 to +350 to win the NBA title. The Brooklyn Nets are +225 favorites.

    Westbrook, meanwhile, is the +110 favorite to be the NBA assist leader.

    Information from ESPN’s Bobby Marks was used in this report.

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