Once again, the Los Angeles Lakers shocked the NBA world with a blockbuster trade to thrust LeBron James and company back into the spotlight. Ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft, the Lakers agreed to a massive trade, resulting in Russell Westbrook sporting the Purple and Gold next season.
With Westbrook now headed back to his hometown of Los Angeles, the storied franchise has jumped ahead of the star-studded Brooklyn Nets with the best odds to win it all next season, via SportsBetting.AG.
As a result of the Russell Westbrook trade, the Lakers have jump ahead of the Nets as title favorites for the 2021-2022 NBA season, according to @SportsBettingAG:
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) July 30, 2021
The Lakers had been linked to every player rumored to be available this summer in NBA free agency or on the trade market. Westbrook was one of many notable players linked to Los Angeles with DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, Buddy Hield and Chris Paul.
However, with limited trade assets at their disposal and so much money invested in Davis and James, the Lakers making a blockbuster move seemed to be a stretch. Ultimately, Rob Pelinka and company were able to convince the Washington Wizards to take on Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and a first-round draft pick to make the deal work for Westbrook.
The real question moving forward will be whether Westbrook is the right fit alongside James and Davis. The Lakers will be Westbrook’s fourth team in four years as he’s struggled to find a team that’s right for him.
Westbrook’s outside shooting and lackluster defense are causes for concern for a team that already struggled from beyond the arc and prided themselves on the defensive end of the floor.
Regardless of Westbrook’s flaws, the 17-time NBA champions may be the team to beat in the Western Conference next season, with a potentially epic NBA Finals scenario against Kevin Durant’s Nets on the horizon.
Lakers Acquire Westbrook in Blockbuster Trade
The Lakers weren’t content with their roster after a disappointing end to their 2020-21 campaign resulting in another aggressive move by the storied franchise to bring in another superstar to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With Westbrook in the fold, Los Angeles aims to extend James’ window for title contention with the team as they’ll be a scary sight for opposing teams next season.