- Samuel Rodriguez
Rob Pelinka is at it again with questionable moves
LOS ANGELES- The Los Angeles Lakers make a very questionable trade with the Washington Wizards.
The Lakers Traded away Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the 22nd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft for Russell Westbrook and two second round draft picks. This is a very debatable move for many reasons.
Most people predicted the Lakers to trade for a shooter, rather they trade for the complete opposite. They seemed to have a trade locked in with the Sacramento Kings for a great shooter in Buddy Hield. This trade would have involved Kuzma and Harrell, that’s it. Instead, the Lakers get rid of them along with a great bench piece and arguably their best shooter last season. Shooting 41% from three and 43% overall. This move should make Lakers fans question their front office.
The trade to some seems amazing, you pair Westbrook a triple double machine with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Three stars in the league, seems great on paper, right? Well let’s look at it from a basketball standpoint. Westbrook is a ball dominate point guard, loves to drive down the lane and go coast to coast. He has yet to develop a three-point shot, and still is spotty when it comes to shots not in the paint. Westbrook shot 31.5% from three last season. The Lakers as a team, lack in three-point percentage, so trading away a key shooter and two decent bench pieces for a ball dominate PG with no shot outside the arc.
We have seen Westbrook play with multiple star teammates. For example, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul George, Bradley Beal. How did those pan out? Don’t get me wrong, Westbrook is a great player, something we have not seen since Oscar Robinson when it comes to the triple doubles. This does not make him a team player. Now you are trading away guys who have spent time in this system plus a draft pick for someone who might not make your team better.
The Lakers already have a ball dominate player in LeBron, and a top two power forward in Davis. That’s all you need. You do not need another star player, rather work on bench production. The Lakers now have five signed players on their roster. They have no bench set, no rotations set, plus they do not have any cap space. If the Lakers GM Rob Pelinka made that Hield trade you only give up two players, you keep KCP (their best shooter), and still have a good amount of cap room to sign decent players in free agency. Now you have Westbrook who’s contracts worth 44 million this year and 49 million next. The Lakers have no cap space to sign good free agents. All they can do now is sign a bunch of veteran minimum players and hope they make a solid impact on the team.
The only positive aspect this trade helps with would be the Lakers points off assists category. They were ranked 18th in the NBA last season when it came to that stat. Westbrook brings over a good playmaking ability with his court vision and passing ability. Other than that, bringing Westbrook over seems like the wrong play. We witnessed this last time with Davis. The Lakers gave up a massive Haul consisting of three players and three first round picks. The Lakers are set for now yes, but the future I don’t think so. Westbrook is 32 and LeBron is 36. While Davis will be around for a while, the others wont.
Overall, this trade seems like a bad one. Things over in LA won’t improve drastically enough to be considered favorites to win the west. Rather with this trade I could see them moving down that rank. Getting rid of their bench and gaining another ball dominate non-three-point threat type of player. This trade seemed forced due to a name rather than what the team needs. The Buddy Hield trade would have improved