The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards in the offseason. Their goal, at the time, was putting together a talented ‘Big 3’ that could compete with the one the Brooklyn Nets bring to the table.
Unfortunately, Westbrook hasn’t played up to expectations and his fit has been very awkward. Fresh off a three-game winning streak, LA is now 20-19 on the year – a far cry from what many envisioned before the season began.
Interestingly enough, it didn’t have to be like this. The Lakers were very close to pulling the trigger on a different player in the offseason: Sacramento Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield.
During a recent conversation with Mark Medina of NBA.com, Hield acknowledged that he was very close to becoming a Laker in the offseason.
“It did,” Hield said when asked if he felt like a deal was going to happen.
“Talking to my agents and the media, of course. The media knows more than the agent and team, basically. But it didn’t happen. So, I’m still here. I’m still in the league and have an opportunity to play basketball. That’s the fun about it.”
The Lakers kicked the tires on multiple moves before ultimately settling on Westbrook. Their treatment of DeMar DeRozan during that process was especially troubling, but karma ultimately caught up with them in the way Westbrook has played up to this point.
Thus far, LA has spoken to two teams about dealing away Westbrook. It remains unclear how viable a trade is before the looming deadline.
Jusuf Nurkic sends an ominous message to Tyler Herro. https://t.co/Up1bwVyie9
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 6, 2022
It’s hard to say whether Hield would have ultimately been a better fit than Westbrook. On paper, it would seem so. But who knows in reality.
Either way, what’s done is done. And the fact that the Lakers are already trying to swap Westbrook for something else is telling in regards to how they view the decisions they made in the offseason.