The Los Angeles Lakers can finally put the “Lakers need a third star” conversations to bed, as they’ve now agreed to a deal to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards. The Lakers will also receive two future second-round draft picks, while the Wizards will receive Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and the 22nd overall draft pick (which turned out to be Isaiah Jackson from Kentucky).
Well that's about as official as it can get pic.twitter.com/C1M2nOSdOo
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) July 30, 2021
It still has barely been 12 hours since this trade was first reported, but you can tell that LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are both happy about the deal. It sounds as if the Lakers would have proceeded with the deal to acquire the Kings’ Buddy Hield if Westbrook didn’t speak up about his desires to Wizards management, as Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus states that the Wizards pivoted back to the deal with the Lakers after Westbrook “asserted his voice into the conversation”.
It also sounds like that this deal was discussed between the Lakers’ new three-header monster far before last night, as Brad Turner of the L.A. Times reports that LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook had conversations two weeks ago at LeBron’s house about what a team with the three of them would look like.
Here’s what was reportedly discussed between the three, as told by Turner and the L.A. Times:
They talked about putting their egos aside and playing as one in their quest to bring the Lakers another NBA championship. Westbrook talked about how his only intention was winning and coming back home to Los Angeles to become a champion.
James and Davis talked about the two of them changing positions if that was best for the team — James moving from small forward to power forward and Davis from power forward to center.
Westbrook let James and Davis know he doesn’t mind playing off the ball when James initiates the offense, something he did while playing alongside James Harden with the Houston Rockets.
All of that should be music to Lakers fans’ ears, as all of that will be important for the three to mesh together while on the court. The news regarding James and Davis playing at the four and five is promising and is something that has been reported previously by The New York Times’ Marc Stein.
Still, even if James, Davis, and Westbrook do all those things they say they will do, Rob Pelinka will have to surround these three players with more shooting. He won’t have much salary cap to work with to complete this, so expect him to seek out sharpshooting veterans to take the minimum to chase a championship alongside the Lakers’ new big three.