After a dispiriting exit in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers clearly needed to make a move, and they did just that after trading for Russell Westbrook.
Even at 32 years old, Westbrook is arguably the most athletic and explosive guard in the league and now flanks LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The three stars make up the NBA’s latest “Big 3,” and although there are questions about the shooting and on-court fit, there is no denying their collective talent.
Westbrook comes with his flaws like every player does, giving fans and media some pause, but anyone playing next to James has to accept their role to be successful. James and Davis are consulted on every roster move, and according to Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times, they met with Westbrook first before approving the deal:
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.
One of the reasons why the Lakers were interested in adding another playmaker was so James and Davis could slide to power forward and center, respectively, so it is encouraging to hear that they are open to moving down a spot to maximize Westbrook. Meanwhile, Westbrook tends to float during games when he is not handling the basketball, so he will need to adjust, considering that James will be controlling most of the offensive possessions.
This is by far one of the biggest gambles on talent the Lakers could have made, but if it works then, the Purple and Gold could be looking at Banner No. 18.
Russell Westbrook thanks Washington D.C., Wizards
Even though Westbrook only played one season for the Washington Wizards, he made an impact as he was able to turn it on toward the end of the regular season and helped them earn the eighth seed in the playoffs. After the trade was made official, the guard went out of his way to thank the city and organization on his Instagram account.