Russell Westbrook is close to being traded to an NBA title contender. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Los Angeles Lakers are nearing a deal with the Washington Wizards to land Westbrook for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a 2021 draft pick. As of this writing, an agreement has not been put in place. The current discussions are focused on draft compensation for the Wizards. The team could also get the Lakers' 22nd overall pick this year's draft, which starts on Thursday night.
If the trade does happen, the Lakers would have Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, and that would make the team a favorite to win the NBA title. This past season, the Lakers finished seventh place in the Western Conference and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns. The team dealt with multiple injuries and lack of rest as they won the 2020 championship in October and then played the new season in December.
"Well, you can't be at your best if you can't put your best team on the court and the injuries that The Lakers suffered this year were just... How many games did [Anthony] Davis miss, 40-something games?" Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said to PopCulture in June. "And LeBron [James] was out twice with an ankle and they just couldn't build the cohesion and continuity that they needed to go into the playoffs strong. Guys were trying to come back, Davis tried to play with a bad hamstring, it just didn't work, so they're going to have to heal and try and come back next year strong."
Westbrook, 32, was traded to the Wizards in December after spending one season with the Houston Rockets. He played in 65 games this past season and averaged 23.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. He led the Wizards to the playoffs but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.
Westbrook was drafted No. 4 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008 and became a superstar. He was named MVP in 2017 after averaging 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per contest. In his career, Westbrook was named to the All-Star team nine times and the All-NBA Team nine times total (selected to the first team twice).