The Lakers’ first-round playoff exit signaled a shakeup was on the way, though nobody really expected them to land Russell Westbrook from the Wizards.
But that is precisely what took place on draft day, and it appears all parties feel good about things moving forward.
For starters, no less than LeBron James, “posted a photoshop of Westbrook in Lakers purple and gold standing between him and Davis with arms raised imperiously,” as Kyle Goon of the LA Daily News relayed.
Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in four of the past five seasons, so there is little doubt his addition should put the Lakers right back in the driver’s season in the Western Conference.
“Westbrook alone doesn’t rectify the team’s shooting woes, but he’s expected to be an improved, consistent scoring threat that the team desperately needed,” wrote Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
More out of LA
- While the addition of Westbrook is big, the Lakers are not done making moves, Haynes noted. Perimeter shooting remains something they intend to address in free agency.
- Westbrook sent a healtfelt note to the Wizards and their fans on social media: “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’s arrival spells the end for Dennis Schroder after one season in LA, Haynes wrote. It very well could mean the end of Alex Caruso‘s run with the Lakers, too. Both players are free agents, and Schroder wants to go someplace where he can start.
- With Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on their way to the Wizards, the Lakers will only have three players from last season’s team under contract — James, Davis and Marc Gasol. It is not known if the team intends to bring back Andre Drummond in free agency.