The Los Angeles Lakers have wasted no time in revamping their squad ahead of the new NBA season after failing to move past the first round during the 2021 playoffs.
The purple and gold started last season among the favourites to lift the Larry O'Brien trophy for the second consecutive season, but an injury to LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the course of the campaign hurt their chances. They made it to the playoffs via the play-in tournament, but fell to the Phoenix Suns in the first round.
The Los Angeles franchise were desperate to add a third superstar piece to help James and Davis, and according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, they have agreed a deal for Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook. The All-Star guard will depart the Wizards after just one season to return to his hometown and create yet another super team.
"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 The Athletic," Charania wrote.
The Lakers cannot announce the trade until Aug. 6 when the salary cap becomes official and teams can start making moves for the upcoming campaign. Westbrook has also confirmed the move with a social media post thanking the Washington franchise and its fans for the support during his lone campaign at the Capital One Arena.
"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," Westbrook wrote.
The 32-year-old guard will be playing with his fourth different franchise in as many seasons after initially spending 11 years with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2019, who then sent him to the Wizards for the 2020-21 season.
Westbrook is coming off his fourth season where he has averaged a triple double. Alongside Bradley Beal in Washington last season, the former Thunder guard averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists.