After being eliminated from the 2021 playoffs in embarrassingly quick fashion – especially considering the fact they were the defending champions – the Los Angeles Lakers have made their intentions to build a super team clear, securing Washington Wizards superstar Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade during this year’s NBA Draft.
The confirmation was first reported by ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski. In return for The Brodie, Washington will receive the #22 first-round draft pick for 2021, two future second-round picks (2024 + 2028), centre Montrezl Harrell, guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and most unsurprisingly, lacklustre forward Kyle Kuzma.
For Russell Westbrook, the Los Angeles Lakers will mark his fourth NBA team in the same amount of years. Previous to his annual migrations, he had spent the entirety of his professional career with the Oklahoma City Thunder (11 seasons). Regardless, if he manages to continue averaging 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 11.7 assists per game – shooting 43.9% from the field, 31.5% from deep – he’ll surely be an asset to the Lakers, alongside newly-minted billionaire LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
While we’re personally optimistic about the prospect of James, Davis, and Westbrook united on the same team, not everyone is convinced the latter will prove to be a longtime asset. As Kevin Pelton of ESPN notes, Westbrook’s recent history can be compared to the Arrested Development meme, wherein psychiatrist / aspiring actor Tobias Funke (portrayed by David Cross) tells his wife Lindsay Bluth Funke (portrayed by Portia de Rossi) that open marriages never work for anyone he has counseled, before stating the punchline: “… but it might work for us.“
“Such is the history of trades for Westbrook, now seemingly a scheduled part of the NBA offseason,” writes Pelton.
“In part, Westbrook’s stints in Houston and DC ended because he was fleeing sinking ships, something that won’t be an issue with the Lakers. There’s zero reason to think James or Davis will ask out of LA like James Harden did with the Rockets and Bradley Beal might with the Wizards this offseason. Still, dealing for Westbrook wasn’t enough to prevent either of those teams from taking on additional water.”
Pelton added that a third elite shot creator next to James and Davis will provide the Lakers a safety net they lacked last season when both stars were injured; and after Dennis Schroeder came up short, though Schroeder is no Westbrook. So who knows?
Let’s see how this plays out…