Westbrook, AD, & Bron | The New Trio in Los Angeles

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Updated: July 30, 2021
westbrook trade

           Russell Westbrook is the first super-star name relocating this offseason. The Lakers acquire two future 2nd rounders and a former MVP for the majority of their depth in Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the 22nd pick in this year’s draft. Reports around the league had a possible Buddy Hield trade sending a similar package to Sacramento, but the Lakers opted for the ball-dominant bulldog in Russell Westbrook.

Washington

           Considering Westbrook’s contract, with a salary of 44.2 million this year, and an enormous 47-million-dollar player option in 2022, many believed that he was low-key untradeable. Last offseason he was swapped with John Wall to the Houston Rockets, but most sources around the league thought the two players would be cemented in Houston and Washington until the remainder of their terrible contracts expired. If Westbrook was to be moved, it was assumed that Washington would need to attach assets to get off his salary. Well, they were wrong. The Wizards somehow were able to get a 1st in this year’s draft and a decent asset in Kyle Kuzma. Although Montrezl seems to have little value on the trade market these days after his disappearance in the playoffs, Washington will likely be able to get at least 2 seconds come the trade deadline for KCP as a two-way 3 & D guard.

           The only troubling variable in the equation for the Wizards is the reports that Bradly Beal wishes to stay in Washington. The acquisition of Kuz, KCP, and Harrell may make them just good enough to remain mediocre and extend Bradly Beal to a 241-million-dollar contract next offseason. Hopefully, for Wizard’s fans, the reports of Beal not wanting out of Washington is simply a smokescreen to help his value and he will be moved in the next 48 hours. However, even if their dedication to being a 1st round knockout next year in the playoffs stops them from rebuilding, they still win this trade in a landslide. The trade shaves an immediate 8 million dollars off the books this year for Washington, along with a tremendous saving of over 20 million in 2022 with Montrezl coming off the books and KCP only partially guaranteed.

Los Angeles

           Last offseason, ESPN and other major media conglomerates openly praised the acquisitions of mid-level-exception Montrezl Harrell and vet-min Marc Gasol. They let two of their core pieces of their title run walk, in JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, and sent a first-round pick and Danny Green to OKC for Dennis Schröder. As many across the podcasts had predicted, these offseason transactions proved to be an utter disaster. Montrezl who signed for the full-mid-level was simply unplayable in the playoffs, and Gasol continued to hesitate to shoot from behind the arc. With regards to Schröder, not only did he perform poorly in the postseason, he may walk for nothing this offseason in unrestricted free agency. 

           The blueprint for a title-bound Lebron James roster has not been one that requires a tremendous amount of calculation. Put 3 & D shooters around him and let him operate at the point as your primary facilitator. With this offseason and the last, the Lakers have managed to send away two near minimum bigs, Danny Green, KCP, and Kyle Kuzma. They somehow wasted their mid-level on a player the Clippers could hardly let on the floor in the post-season in Montrezl Harrell…and now are begging Dennis Schröder to resign as they are unable to replace him since they are over the salary cap. All of these players have somehow translated into a roster of Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, Lebron James, and hopefully Andre Drummond if he resigns. Outside of those 5 names they don’t have much of a roster as they traded away the majority of their depth and Alex Caruso is rumored to have generous offers elsewhere. 

           Instead of 3 & D players, the Lakers attached a 1st to acquire one of the most ball-dominant guards in the history of basketball. Not only does he need the ball to be impactful, but he has also averaged an abysmal 29% from 3 on nearly 5 attempts for his playoff career with 4 turnovers per game. He also has an addiction to late big shot heroics, despite the fact that his shooting statics suggest pretty much any else on the floor would be better suited to take a heave from distance for a game-winner. It could’ve been understandable if it were the only deal available, but Buddy Hield is one of the best 3 point shooters in the league. No one would go out of their way to call him a plus defender, but neither can be said about Westbrook. With Russell’s intensity and effort level always on 11, the Lakers presumably will look quite strong throughout the regular season. However, with all the surgeries for Russ who will be 33 in November, Davis constantly being injured, and Lebron no longer the Iron Man, the oddds of this rendition of the Lakers ever wins a title is unlikely to say the least. 

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