The Russell Westbrook trade is coming back to haunt the Los Angeles Lakers. His cap hit number for this upcoming season will be over $47 million. That severely handicaps the Lakers in free agency. They have signed some players so far, but no one high-profile. Los Angeles has signed Lonnie Walker as well as Thomas Bryant. Those are good, quality signings that will definitely improve the team, but it isn’t flashy.
Westbrook’s contract has also handicapped the Lakers in potential trade talks. The cap number is so big and nobody seems willing to pay that to him. Nobody seems interested in him enough as a player either.
Westbrook Trade Coming Back To Haunt The Lakers
Trading For Russell Westbrook
Last summer on the day of the NBA Draft the Wizards traded Russell Westbrook and two second-round picks (In 2024 and 2028 respectively.) to LA for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the 22nd overall pick in that night’s draft, which Washington used on Isaiah Jackson before flipping him to the Pacers. That was A LOT for him. At his peak, Westbrook is worth it. But he isn’t at his peak anymore. It also decimated the roster. There wasn’t much on the Lakers’ roster this past season other than him, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, and both of those guys missed a lot of time due to injuries. It’s why they missed the playoffs just two years after winning a championship.
Thankfully for Lakers fans, the team will be out of Westbrook’s contract next summer. That will really help. But for right now the Lakers are stuck without much other than those three. Walker and Bryant will help a lot. Are those five enough to get them to the playoffs? Possibly. But it is not enough to get to the NBA Finals, let alone win a championship.
I do want to say that I am not saying Westbrook is a bad player because he is not. He averaged 18.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, & 7.1 APG this past season. But his enormous cap figure is not worth the production he’s putting out, which hurts LA.