More details have emerged in how Russell Westbrook made his way from the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to reports, Westbrook tried to bring Bradley Beal along with him out of Washington.
Russell Westbrook tried to convince Bradley Beal to request a trade from the Wizards.
Beal declined but supported Russ' wishes to be moved to L.A.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 27, 2021
As reported by The Athletic, Westbrook went straight to Ted Leonsis, CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, to make a deal when Westbrook went to the Lakers in July via trade.
However, before approaching the billionaire owner of the Washington Wizards, Westbrook attempted to change the Wizards’ dynamic.
— Jacoby (@onlyonejacoby) September 22, 2021
He approached Bradley Beal to request a deal out of Washington with him. However, according to the report, Beal declined.
Beal did express his support for Westbrook’s decision to leave the nation’s Capital to go home to Southern California. Westbrook is a Los Angeles native who helped lead UCLA to a pair of Final Four appearances.
From Mega Team To Super Team
The report from The Athletic revealed that Westbrook tried to convince Beal to request the trade before the NBA draft. Additionally, the Wizards organization initially intended on keeping Westbrook and Beal for the upcoming season.
According to the Athletic, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Demar Derozan were all discussed by the Lakers and LeBron James. Ultimately they decided that Westbrook was the best solution because of his Dynamic Playmaking. Specifically easing the burden on LJ. pic.twitter.com/zHqxCZ4W4D
— westbrookgetsachip (@Alwaysn4evaArt) September 27, 2021
Westbrook wanted to be in the purple and gold. However, talks between the two teams didn’t lead to a deal. The conversations occurred in the weeks before the draft.
Initially, the Wizards were refusing to make Westbrook available leading up to the 2021 NBA draft. Additionally, Westbrook was preparing for the reality that he might play his final NBA years in Washington.
Eventually, Westbrook went to the Lakers on July 29, which coincidentally was the night of the draft. The trade wasn’t officially announced until Aug. 6, when the salary cap became official. In addition, teams couldn’t begin making moves for the upcoming season until then.
Knowledge Is Power
However, Westbrook found out the Lakers were willing to trade Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell for Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. At that point, along with talks with LeBron James, a deal was reached.
Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one. 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. pic.twitter.com/wTvHQHPIOU
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) July 30, 2021
“Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one,” Westbrook wrote in his social media post. “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!”
Laker forwards Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, the 22nd overall pick of the 2021 draft, and two future second-round picks in 2024 and 2028 went to the Wizards.
The Washington Wizards have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook, 2024 second-round pick, 2028 second-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and No. 22 tonight, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 30, 2021
The deal marked the second time in three years the Lakers made a significant offseason trade. They acquired Anthony Davis from New Orleans in 2019 for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round draft picks.
LAKERS DEPTH CHART:
PG: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Rajon Rondo
SG: Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wayne Ellington, Austin Reaves
SF: Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore
PF: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
C: Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan
What's ur starting 5? pic.twitter.com/Y9bU4SwQkX
— Lakers Lead (@LakersLead) September 26, 2021
With the aura of LeBron James and the history of the purple and gold, Westbrook believed the combination of him and Beal was perfect for Los Angeles. However, the potential mega team will have to remain a super team without Beal.