Wizards reportedly trade Westbrook to LA Lakers in draft-night blockbuster
Russell Westbrook reportedly is headed from the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The Los Angeles Lakers are set to add another former MVP, as several media outlets reported they will acquire Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards in a draft-night blockbuster.
In return for Westbrook and second-round picks in 2024 and 2028, the Lakers reportedly are sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the 22nd overall pick in Thursday's draft to Washington.
While the deal cannot be officially completed until August 6, when the salary cap for next season is set, commissioner Adam Silver announced the portion involving the draft pick from the podium on Thursday.
With the 22nd pick that was part of the trade, the Lakers selected Isaiah Jackson from Kentucky and sent him to Indiana as part of a separate deal between the Indiana Pacers and Wizards that reportedly will net Washington Aaron Holiday and the number 31 pick.
But Los Angeles native and former UCLA star Westbrook was the man everyone was talking about on Thursday.
Westbrook to join LeBron and Anthony Davis in LA
After one season with Washington, Westbrook will head west to join LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers as they try to bounce back from a first-round playoff loss a year after winning the NBA title.
The move will cost LA, who will owe their new star trio a combined $121million next season.
But the Lakers will be hoping for big things from the nine-time All-Star Westbrook, who was the league's MVP in 2016-17 while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder and turns 33 in November.
Westbrook averaged 22.2 points and a career-high 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds in 65 regular-season games last season, recording triple-doubles in 38 of them.
Along the way, he broke Oscar Robertson's long-standing record of 181 career triple-doubles, finishing the season with 184.
Westbrook posted a message to social media late Thursday thanking Washington's organisation and fans.
"Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one," he wrote. "Everyone from the front office, to the training staff, the coaches, my teammates, and the fans. I’m grateful y’all took a chance on me and supported me every step of the way.
"I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!"
From Washington's perspective, moving on from Westbrook frees up money to keep Bradley Beal as the team's centerpiece moving forward as he enters the final year of his contract.
The Wizards also added some supporting pieces in the deal, as Harrell averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Lakers last season, while Kuzma contributed 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds and Caldwell-Pope 9.7 points.
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