Winners, losers from blockbuster Russell Westbrook to Lakers commerce


Russell Westbrook goes house — and LeBron James obtained his big-name secondary ball handler.

Westbrook was traded to the Lakers in a blockbuster commerce that had been within the works for a few days (however appeared wouldn’t occur). LeBron James was pumped.

The total commerce had the Lakers getting Westbrook, a 2024 second-round decide, and a 2028 second-round decide; the Wizards obtain Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and the Lakers’ No. 22 decide in Thursday’s draft, which Washington traded once more to the Pacers to get Aaron Vacation.

Who had been the winners and losers within the Westbrook commerce? Let’s break all of it down.

Winner: Russell Westbrook

He needed out of Washington, he needed to go to a contender, and he ideally needed to get again house to Los Angeles. Examine, test, and test. The Lakers are the perfect staff he has been on since Oklahoma Metropolis, and he has a shot at getting again to the NBA Finals. Past that, for a man who is targeted on vogue and his model, he’s now in among the best vogue cities on the planet, a spot the place advertising and branding alternatives are round each nook. That is every part Westbrook may have hoped for in an escape bundle from Washington.

Winner: The Lakers within the common season

Russell Westbrook is a triple-double machine, a man who performs laborious each possession, each evening, which might help win video games throughout the common season. The Lakers have been searching for somebody to take among the shot creation load off LeBron’s plate — Rajon Rondo did it within the bubble playoffs, however outdoors that no one has performed it persistently — and now they’ve their man in Westbook. He may have the ball in his arms when LeBron is on the bench. Westbrook can step in and run the offense on the nights LeBron or Anthony Davis are getting a DNP-rest (or possibly lacking a recreation or two resulting from an harm). He had a stretch by means of the center of final season the place he performed at an All-Star, possibly All-NBA, stage, and that Westbrook helps the Lakers rack up extra wins within the first 82 video games.

Loser: The Lakers within the playoffs

Two years in the past, within the Western Convention playoffs within the bubble, the Lakers confronted the Westbrook/James Harden Rockets. Los Angeles’ defensive technique? Load up on Harden, get the ball out of his arms, depart Westbrook broad open on the perimeter and dare him to beat you along with his jumper. The Lakers gained the collection 4-1, and Westbrook shot 25.9% from 3 throughout it (he’s a profession 30.5% from past the arc). The Lakers will face that very same downside from the opposite aspect within the postseason: Groups will ignore Westbrook on the perimeter. He’s a profession 40.8% shooter total within the playoffs — he’s not environment friendly beneath the brightest of lights. Groups will assist off him. Additionally, groups will pack the paint and dare Los Angeles to beat them from the skin — the 2 Lakers who made probably the most threes final yr had been Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope.

A part of this lack of spacing might be alleviated by how Rob Pelinka rounds out the remainder of the Los Angeles roster — they desperately want capturing. It gained’t be straightforward or low-cost: LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook mixed to make $120.8 million subsequent season, the wage cap is predicted to be round $112 million, the luxurious tax like near $137 million. The Lakers can afford to enter the tax, however it ties their arms with the scale choices they will make (solely a $5.9 million tax-payer mid-level exception). Perhaps a Dennis Schroder sign-and-trade might help carry again some capturing and high quality function gamers, however the Lakers are going to need to get inventive in including expertise.

Winner: Washington Wizards

They had been already winners as a result of Bradley Beal didn’t ask for a commerce. Now comes this Westbrook commerce, through which the Wizards enhance their woeful depth and save $6 million within the course of. It makes them slightly higher on the court docket now, however it additionally provides them the pliability to make trades — it’s laborious to maneuver Westbrook’s $44 million, a lot simpler to maneuver guys who make between $9.7 and $14 million. Washington nonetheless must put much more expertise round Beal, however this commerce makes that appear extra doable.

Loser: Buddy Hield

The Kings’ sharpshooter needs out of Sacramento and nearly landed with the Lakers for a bundle not that a lot completely different than what it took to get Westbrook. Momentum was constructing towards a Hield commerce when the Westbrook supply instantly caught the Lakers’ focus and altered every part. So now Hield is again in Sacramento, no less than in the meanwhile, and either side are slightly pissed off with that.

Right here is extra on the Lakers

2021 NBA Draft pick-by-pick tracker with evaluation of choices, trades Experiences: Lakers buying and selling for Russell Westbrook, who requested commerce from Wizards Report: Nets speaking Shamet commerce with Lakers, Mavericks; additionally searching for…

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