The Washington Wizards have traded Russell Westbrook and second-round picks in 2024 and 2028 to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 overall pick, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. It was reported earlier Thursday that Westbrook wanted a trade and Los Angeles was his preferred destination.
Earlier Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harrell would opt into the final year of his contract at $9.7 million. The Lakers needed Harrell to opt-in for salary purposes in a possible trade. Westbrook is set to make over $44 million next season, so every penny counts in getting up to his figure. Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope and Harrell combine to make almost $36 million.
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The Wizards still reportedly plan to keep Bradley Beal, according to Wojnarowski. The idea for them would be to create future flexibility to retool the roster around him. Beal can become a free agent next offseason.
On paper, Westbrook is an odd fit in Los Angeles. The Lakers ranked 24th in 3-point attempts and 21st in 3-point percentage last season. Westbrook is a notoriously poor 3-point shooter. He has made only 30.5 percent of his attempts in his career, further limiting spacing for LeBron James and Anthony Davis as they drive to the basket. That was already a problem over the past two seasons.
But the Lakers have been desperately searching for a secondary playmaker to help take ball-handling pressure off of James. Westbrook has led the NBA in assists in three of the past four seasons. He may not be a shooter, but he’s a dynamic scorer that will make the Lakers even deadlier in transition and on the glass. That makes him an imperfect and risky addition, but one with a good deal of upside.
Westbrook is a Los Angeles native. He played collegiately at UCLA. The Lakers would be his fourth team in the past four seasons, but they are probably his best chance at winning a championship.