We had our first blockbuster trade of the offseason on Draft Night, as the Los Angeles Lakers formed a new "Big 3" by adding Russell Westbrook alongside two future second-round picks. At the same time, on the other side, they sent out Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and their no.22 pick in this year's Draft to the Washington Wizards. This move would cause a flurry of reactions in the NBA world, as it has divided NBA experts.
Some think this could be the new "Showtime," with Westbrook's energy coming to the spotlight of LA alongside LeBron and AD, while on the other side, some think it could go terribly wrong because of the playstyles of these three stars not meshing together. Well, apparently, there could be some truth to that, as reports came out that Westbrook wasn't the Lakers first option but was instead the backup plan in case they fail to get Lillard or Beal:
Per NBA sources, the Lakers went into the offseason with a clear Plan A: unrealistic hopes of landing a Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal. Plan B was Chris Paul (but then the Phoenix Suns advanced to the NBA Finals) and Westbrook. Hield was always Plan C.
Eric Pinus, via Bleacher Report
As always, the Lakers came into the off-season ambitious and ready to get everything that's good on the market. Lillard and Beal were pretty far-fetched, but considering both of them were rumored to request trades from their respective teams, it wasn't that impossible. But the trade packages they gathered weren't enough to get these types of stars.
Then came Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, with CP3 probably being the primary choice considering his relationship with LeBron. But after his amazing playoff run with Phoenix, it's was hard to see him leave that situation. That left the Lakers with the choice of trying to get Westbrook and forming a superstar Big 3 or getting Buddy Hield from Sacramento, a good shooter but nothing more than a role player or average starter. Pelinka opted for stardom and pulled the trigger on Westbrook.
He maybe did get the better player, but did he get a better fit? Westbrook and Lebron are both ball-dominant guys who rely on penetrating, finishing, and kicking it out to shooters. There is where problems could show because of the inconsistency in three-point shooting with these two guys. Buddy Hield may have been a better fit for the system, but as we all know, the playoffs are all about stars, and the Lakers have three of them. Now the Lakers will do what every LeBron-led team does. Get a bunch of veteran role players that can shoot the heck out of that ball and hope they find their niche.
If they somehow manage to get DeRozan with a slight hometown discount in free agency, which has been heavily rumored, a new Super Team could be on the horizon. It could easily go down in flames, but it also could give us a potential epic Finals between the Lakers and the Nets with numerous storylines in the air. We would have Durant versus Westbrook, LeBron versus Kyrie, Harden, Davis, etc., all in the same series. That sounds too good to be true.