It’s that time of year when the NBA gets fresh rosters, through the Draft and trade deals. Typically, there are surprises and upsets and this year is no different.
News broke Thursday night (July 29) that All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook is potentially being traded from the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers are reportedly nearing a deal to add Westbrook to their roster for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell –– who opted into the final year of his contract, and the number 22 pick in the draft.
Here's how that happened and what the deal could mean for the upcoming NBA season.
According to Bleacher Report, the Lakers had kept an open door for a potential Westbrook deal even as they coordinated conversations around a trade between Kuzma and Harrell. While paralleled negotiations were underway, the Lakers also had a plan going for Buddy Hield, who, the outlet reported, could still end up in LA, though the likelihood might be more complex with the Westbrook trade.
With Westbrook added to the roster the salary cap could get tricky too. In the next season, the Lakers would have $120.8 million going to three players: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook. The salary cap is projected to be $112.4 million so the franchise would go above the $136.6 million tax threshold.
The deal also can’t be finalized until after the moratorium on August 6 because of the team’s hard cap, Kuzma’s extension which starts August 2.
There’s also consideration of what having Westbrook on the court will mean for team dynamics. Westbrook is regarded as “one of the most aggressive scoring point guards” in the league right now, which could elevate the Lakers’ playing while James, Davis, and Westbrook are on the court together. Though, there is some worry that the point guard may go his own way in key moments in the game.
We’re a little more than three months out from the October start of the regular season, so we’ll have to wait and see where the ink dries on contracts.