After spending the 2020/21 season with the Wizards, Russell Westbrook contemplated his future and found he had a growing desire to join the Lakers, according to Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic.
Westbrook’s desire to play for his hometown team intensified after he spent time with LeBron James and Anthony Davis at LeBron’s home about two weeks ago and the trio discussed the idea of teaming up, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner says James and Davis spoke in that conversation about changing positions if it’s best for the team, with LeBron willing to play more frequently at the four, with AD at the five.
Westbrook recently informed the Wizards that he’d like to be dealt to the Lakers if they could find a trade that worked, per Charania and Katz, and the two teams did just that on Thursday, reaching an agreement on a blockbuster deal that will send Westbrook and two future second-round picks to L.A. for Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and No. 22 pick Isaiah Jackson. Washington is flipping Jackson to Indiana in a deal that will involve Aaron Holiday and No. 31 pick Isaiah Todd.
One of the primary reasons Westbrook originally wanted to play in D.C. was the presence of head coach Scott Brooks, according to Charania and Katz, who note that the star point guard lobbied for the Wizards to retain Brooks. After the team decided to part ways with Brooks, Westbrook preferred an established coach, sources tell The Athletic, but Washington opted for a first-timer in Wes Unseld Jr.
Here’s more on the Wizards and how the Westbrook trade affects their offseason:
- Bradley Beal had no issues with the Westbrook deal and hasn’t expressed a desire to leave Washignton, sources tell Charania and Katz. For now, the Wizards remain confident they can keep the All-NBA guard long-term.
- The Athletic’s duo reiterates that Spencer Dinwiddie is a potential Wizards target worth keeping an eye on, though a source tells Charania and Katz that the Nets wouldn’t be inclined to sign off on a sign-and-trade of Dinwiddie for Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma alone. Dinwiddie is also expected to receive interest from the Nets, Heat, Knicks, and Raptors, among others, per The Athletic.
- Elsewhere on the point guard front, a reunion with Raul Neto is a possibility for the Wizards, sources tell Charania and Katz. The team also agreed to acquire Aaron Holiday, having grown “enamored” with him prior to the 2018 draft. Washington tried to trade for Holiday a year ago, according to The Athletic.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of Beal’s closest friends in the NBA, is the type of three-and-D player the Wizards have long sought, Charania and Katz observe.
- Corey Kispert was 10th on the Wizards’ draft board entering Thursday night, and the team considered the possibility of trying to trade up for him before landing him at No. 15, write Charania and Katz.
- The Wizards are preparing for Thomas Bryant to miss the start of the season as he continues to recover from an ACL tear. A source tells The Athletic the club is hoping Bryant will be able to return by December.