Lakers to acquire Russell Westbrook, trading 3 players and picks to Wizards, ESPN reports

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Friday, July 30, 2021
NBA's Russell Westbrook giving back amid COVID-19 outbreak
Houston Rockets player and philanthropist Russell Westbrook and his wife Nina just launched a campaign with the Los Angeles mayor's office to help hard-hit local families.

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed on a blockbuster deal to acquire former MVP and SoCal native Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards, ESPN is reporting.

The Lakers are sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 pick in Thursday's draft to Washington, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

The Wizards are sending 2024 and 2028 second-round picks to the Lakers to complete the deal, sources said.

Harrell opted into his $9.7 million player option for next season, paving the way for the trade.

Westbrook was named the league's MVP in 2016-17 and has averaged a triple-double for four seasons, this year passing Oscar Robertson for most triple-doubles in a career.

Westbrook grew up in Long Beach and Hawthorne and played basketball at UCLA before he was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

He continues to maintain ties to Southern California, with involvement in local charities and ownership of a car dealership in Van Nuys.

One area where he could help the Lakers would be his playmaking. The Lakers ranked 18th in points per game created off assists in 2020-21. Westbrook has led the NBA in that category three of the past four seasons, with the lone exception being the year he spent with James Harden on the Houston Rockets.

Westbrook will join LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles, giving the team a nine-time All-Star point guard. Westbrook, who turns 33 in November, gives the Lakers two of the top five players in career triple-doubles: Westbrook has 184, James 99.

Dennis Schroder ran the point for the Lakers this past season, but he turned down the maximum extension the Lakers were eligible to offer him during the regular season to pursue a more lucrative deal as a free agent this summer.

Westbrook has been intrigued by the idea of returning to his Los Angeles roots, sources said. He's owed $44.2 million this season; the Westbrook-James-Davis trio would combine to earn $121 million in 2021-22 -- 19 teams will earn less heading into free agency.

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