Sports

Lakers moving toward deal for Russ, sources say

The Los Angeles Lakers are nearing a deal with the Washington Wizards to acquire Russell Westbrook for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a 2021 first-round pick, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Harrell has opted into his $9.7 million player option for next season, paving the way for the potential deal.

There’s no agreement in place and work still to do on the Westbrook trade. Talks with the Sacramento Kings on a possible Buddy Hield deal had also been ongoing between the two teams, sources told Wojnarowski.

The Lakers own the No. 22 pick in Thursday night’s draft (8 ET on ABC, ESPN and the ESPN App).

If the trade goes down, Westbrook will join LeBron James, Anthony Davis & Co. in Los Angeles, giving the team a nine-time All-Star point guard. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in a season four times in his career, including this past season. He would give the Lakers two of the top five players in career triple-doubles (Westbrook has 184, James 99).

One area where he could help L.A. would be his playmaking. The Lakers ranked 18th in points per game created off assists in 2020-21. Westbrook has led the NBA in that category three of the past four seasons, with the lone exception being the year he spent with James Harden in Houston.

Dennis Schroder ran the point for the Lakers this past season, but he turned down the maximum extension the Lakers were eligible to offer him during the regular season to pursue a more lucrative deal as a free agent this summer.

The idea of returning to his Los Angeles roots appeals to Westbrook, who is from Southern California and played at UCLA, sources said.

As for Washington, the potential deal would be made with Bradley Beal in mind; it creates some salary-cap flexibility for the future to add talent around the star guard, sources told Wojnarowski. Beal is entering the last year of his contract and is poised to be a free agent next offseason.

The proposed trade would open up north of $25 million in room for Washington in 2022-23.

Information from ESPN’s Bobby Marks was used in this report.

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