Update: According to Charania, the Lakers have finalized a deal for Westbrook. The Lakers are sending the No. 22 pick in the draft, Kuzma, Harrell and Caldwell-Pope to the Wizards. Washington is sending back Westbrook and two future second-round picks.
The Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in trade talks that would send All-Star PG Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles, first reported by Shams Charania. According to Shams, the deal would send Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Lakers, who may also include the 22nd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, which is tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
The Lakers and Wizards are discussing a trade that would send Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Westbrook, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The Lakers' No. 22 pick in the Draft could be in play, too. https://t.co/RQOnlyVnBS— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 29, 2021
There is a bit of an issue here. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN just reported that the Lakers and Sacramento Kings were close to a deal that would send Kuzma and Harrell to SacTown for Buddy Hield. So now we’re in a weird situation where either Woj or Shams could be wrong on a report here! This is wild. Annnnnnd, Woj confirms! Shams had it first!
The Lakers are near a deal to acquire Washington's Russell Westbrook for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a 2021 first-round pick, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 29, 2021
Either way, we’ll keep an eye on the details as they come through. Hopefully we’ll get some clarity on which trade is going to happen. For what it’s worth, Woj didn’t say the Kuzma-Hield swap was officially done. The Lakers could have had a change of heart or the Wizards swooped in with Russ on the table.
It would also appear like Beal is staying put, according to this tweet from Woj. The Wizards are going to try and get some cap flexibility around Beal so that they can surround him with some talent next offseason, it would seem? Not sure if this will work out, but either way, the Wizards can also deal Beal for more assets and cap space to boost a rebuilding effort.
This is a trade Washington wants to make with Bradley Beal in mind, creating some salary cap flexibility for the future to add talent around him, sources tell ESPN. The idea of returning to his Los Angeles roots has been appealing to Westbrook.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 29, 2021
Initially, this trade seems ... well, odd. The Lakers sort of need 3-pointer shooting and spacing for LeBron James. Westbrook provides none of that. He does add an All-Star PG, which is nice. Russ is an inefficient scorer and generally needs the ball in his hands to thrive. That takes the ball out of the hands of the best basketball player on the planet, which doesn’t seem ideal. Still, we saw how the Brooklyn Nets operated with three superstars who are all ball dominant on the same team (when healthy). It seemed to work out OK.
Right now, the Lakers are +450 to win the championship in 2021-22 on DraftKings Sportsbook. It’s hard to view this deal for Westbrook as enough to push them past the Nets for the best odds to win. Brooklyn is 2/1 and, in my eyes, would still be a better team with KD, James Harden and Kyrie Irving > LeBron, AD and Russ. I just don’t know how Westbrook, LeBron and AD operate on the court at the same time and Westbrook is almost like a smaller, less efficient, worse shooter than James in the end.