Russell Westbrook has found a new home with his hometown Lakers, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported just moments after the 2021 NBA draft began Thursday.
The point guard, a 2024 second-round pick and a 2028 second-round pick were traded in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Los Angeles's No. 22 draft pick for Thursday night, according to Charania.
"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," Westbrook tweeted. "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! #thedistrict."
This marks Westbrook's third trade in as many seasons after spending 2019-20 in Houston, who traded him to Washington for the 2020-21 season. Prior to that, he spent 11 seasons with Oklahoma City after the franchise selected him as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft less than a week before they relocated from Seattle. This trade marks a homecoming for Westbrook, who grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne and attended UCLA for two seasons, leading the Bruins to the 2008 Final Four.
Westbrook still had two years left on his contract with the Wizards, the second season being a player option. He enjoyed a standout 2020-21 season in Washington by averaging 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game while leading the Wizards to the No. 8 seed in the playoffs, where they lost to the top-seeded 76ers in five games.
This isn't the only deal the Lakers discussed prior to the 2021 draft. Rumors surfaced that the franchise was also discussing acquiring Kings guard Buddy Hield, though it appears the pieces they'd use in such a trade are now headed to the nation's capital.
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