KEY POINTS

  • The Lakers are in advanced talks with the Wizards for Russell Westbrook
  • Westbrook could be the potential heir to LeBron James
  • The Lakers will be forced to fill up the roster with free agents willing to play on minimum deals

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly nearing a deal to land Russell Westbrook, something that would address that big void the team has in the backcourt.

But to seal the deal for the 2017 NBA MVP, the Lakers will have to give up a lot.

According to sources cited by ESPN, the Lakers plan to send Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell plus their 22nd overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.

On their end, the Wizards would also send their 2024 and 2028 second-round picks. The deal has yet to be made official as of this writing.

It should also be noted that Harrell picked up his $9.7 million player option before the Lakers-Wizards talk on Westbrook. This may be a precedent.

Before the Westbrook trade talks gained steam, the Lakers were reportedly discussing a potential deal with the Sacramento Kings for Buddy Hield. That pitch included Kuzma and Harrell.

But with Westbrook discussions making progress, the Lakers reportedly focused on the Wizards instead.

Once sealed, Westbrook’s coming would undoubtedly push the Lakers as favorites for the coming NBA season.

But in giving up multiple players to acquire the nine-time All-Star, filling up the roster may be limited to free agents willing to join the Lakers on a minimum deal.

As mentioned in a previous post, one notable addition could be Carmelo Anthony–a good friend of James.

While seeing Westbrook, James and Anthony Davis play together next season would be something, the move could also be a way to prepare for the future.

James is already 36 years old and injuries last season have started to show.

At some point, the four-time NBA champion is bound to consider retirement even if most feel he can play for as long as he wants.

James remains efficient, but Westbrook may give the Lakers added insurance, especially if they win an NBA title as early as next season.

Westbrook is set to make $44 million for the 2021-22 NBA season and $47 million in 2022-23.

If things pan out, he could get another huge deal to stay in Hollywood.

Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards Photo: Getty Images | Carmen Mandato