The biggest trade of the 2021 NBA draft was between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Wizards sent Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, who wanted a third start next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In return, the Wizards received Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and draft picks.
Following the trade, Westbrook was quick to express his gratefulness to Washington DC and the Wizards. In his Instagram post, Westbrook described the Wizards as a "stand-up" organization and added that he'd forever be grateful for his experience with the organization.
"Thank you DC! 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. I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization."
"It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!"Russell Westbrook to Washington on his Instagram
For Westbrook, this is a premier opportunity to once again compete for the NBA championship. For the Lakers, Westbrook adds a dynamic presence to Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who already won one title for the Lakers in 2020. The Wizards now turn their entire focus to Bradley Beal, who could leave the franchise next season.
Kendrick Perkins is optimistic
Westbrook's former teammate and now ESPN's analysts, Kendrick Perkins, loves the trade between the Lakers and the Wizards. Perkins believes that star players will seamlessly fit alongside one another.
"You can't put three Hall of Famers on the team and say, 'Can they shoot?' or; 'Can they do this?'. They are going to get it done. Both of these guys, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, are great slashers off the ball. Anthony Davis healthy is still the best big man in the NBA."
"The thing about Russ is that he doesn't give a damn. He's back in his hometown, so you know he's going to play with extra pride. I strongly believe LeBron James is willing to take a backseat and be that third option type guy."Kendrick Perkins voices his support to newly-formed Big 3
The Lakers have just five players under contract for the 2021-22 season. Aside from the aforementioned trio, there's the 36-year-old Marc Gasol and Alfonzo McKinnie. Surely, the Lakers will need to assemble a solid (and cheap) supporting cast in the Free Agency.
However, knowing the strong recruiting skills of LeBron James, signing other players won't be a difficult task for GM Rob Pelinka. After all, playing alongside James, Davis, and Westbrook is a great shot at winning the championship for many veteran players.