Wednesday, December 1

Russell Westbrook Ready to Join LeBron James in Blockbuster Trade to LA Lakers | Los Angeles Lakers


The Los Angeles Lakers are acquiring All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards for three players and the rights to first-round pick Isaiah Jackson.

According to two people with knowledge of the deal, the Lakers are trading Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell to Washington for Westbrook, who hails from Los Angeles and helped lead UCLA to a pair of Final Four appearances. The Lakers had the 22nd pick in Thursday’s draft and selected Jackson, a 6-foot 1111 forward from Kentucky.

People spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be officially announced until Aug. 6, when the salary cap becomes official and teams can start making moves for next season as well. The Lakers will also receive second-round picks from the Wizards in 2024 and 2028.

This is the second time in three years that the Lakers have made a meaningful offseason trade. They acquired Anthony Davis from New Orleans in 2019 for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks.

Westbrook is the league’s career leader in triple-doubles with 184 and gives the Lakers another playmaker to pair with All-Stars LeBron James and Davis. Los Angeles won the NBA title in 2020, but struggled during the second half of this season when James and Davis were out of the lineup due to injuries.

The Lakers fell to the seventh seed in the Western Conference and beat Golden State in the opening game to reach the playoffs before being eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in six games. Davis missed 30 regular-season games due to leg injuries and then the final two and a half games against Phoenix with knee and groin ailments. James was out 26 games in the regular season with a sprained right ankle.

Dennis Schroder played the point last season and averaged 15.4 points, but turned down an extension during the regular season to test free agency.

The 32-year-old Westbrook was selected by Oklahoma City in 2008 and spent his first 11 seasons with the Thunder. He was traded to Houston in 2019 and then traded to Washington last season.

In his only season with the Wizards, he averaged a triple-double (22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists) for the fourth time in his 13-year career. He had 38 triple-doubles in 65 regular-season games when Washington reached the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

While the Lakers get their base, the Wizards get three solid contributors. Kuzma, a 26-year-old forward, has 146 regular-season starts in four seasons and averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds last season. Harrell, a 27-year-old center entering his seventh season, averaged 18.7 points and 33.1 minutes per game in 68 starts in 2018-19, which was the season before Davis joined the Lakers.

Caldwell-Pope, a 28-year-old guard, gives the Wizards a perimeter shooter. He made 41.3% of his three-point attempts last season.

Jackson averaged 8.6 points and 6.6 rebounds for Kentucky in his only college season. Most scouts consider him an excellent defender because of his skills near the basket.


www.theguardian.com

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