The Los Angeles Lakers completed their blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards this past week. In return for Russell Westbrook and three future second-rounders, they sent out Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson.
Reviews on the trade have been mixed.
Some believe the Lakers failed to address their primary weakness, shooting, with the move. They insist that Westbrook will just further clog up the paint, making it more difficult for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to operate.
Others insist that Westbrook will take some offensive pressure off James and Davis, allowing them to be healthier and more fresh heading into the playoffs next year.
And then there is Kendrick Perkins’ take on the situation – which is in a completely different category of its own.
Needless to say, it’s a very polarizing trade even before the tampering accusations.
This week Fox Sports analyst Skip Bayless called out James for what he perceives to be a monumental mistake: signing off on the deal that brought Westbrook to LA.
In Bayless’ estimation, the James should have pushed the Lakers to pursue a trade for Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings instead.
LeBron reportedly preferred Russell Westbrook over Buddy Hield:
“Buddy Hield is a no-brainer. LeBron…you’re going to choose Russell Westbrook, a disaster waiting to happen, the all-time ball hog?” pic.twitter.com/Fpu4s89GSt
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) August 10, 2021
“Buddy Hield is a no-brainer,” he said. “LeBron…you’re going to choose Russell Westbrook, a disaster waiting to happen, the all-time ball hog?”
Bayless also believes the playing styles of James and Westbrook don’t gel.
“KD couldn’t make it work after 8 years and said no. Harden tried 1 year and said no. PG tried 2 years and got out. When you put Russ with LeBron — the ultimate distributor — it is fire and water.”
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) August 11, 2021
“[Kevin Durant] couldn’t make it work after 8 years and said no. Harden tried 1 year and said no,” he added. “[Paul George] tried 2 years and got out. When you put Russ with LeBron — the ultimate distributor — it is fire and water.”
There is just no path to success here, insists the FS1 broadcaster.
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 10, 2021
“In the end, even LeBron will throw up his hands and say: ‘This is a disaster. This was a mistake,’” he concluded.
The decision to acquire Westbrook brought one immediate benefit: it allowed the Lakers to sign another player they would’ve otherwise not had a shot at. Will it help them win a championship, though? Time will tell.