Russell Westbrook has wanted to come home to Los Angeles for some time now, it seems. This blockbuster trade almost didn't happen, though.
Per The Athletic, Westbrook received information on NBA draft day, July 29, that the Lakers front office could not put together a trade for Westbrook and that the Lakers were moving on to try and acquire Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings.
It was at this point that Westbrook contacted Ted Leonsis, the majority owner for the Wizards, to help make the trade happen.
Before Westbrook moved his final chess piece of contacting Leonsis, he tried going about being traded through other means. Westbrook had reportedly talked with Wizards teammate Bradley Beal in the weeks before the NBA draft, to try and convince him to requested a trade from Washington. This didn't work however, and when Westbrook realized the Lakers were making a push for Hield from the Kings, that's when Westbrook spoke with Leonsis.
Within hours of this, Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office had a deal in place to trade Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, along with the No. 22 pick in that night’s draft, to the Wizards for Westbrook.
This of course happened two years after it was almost the Clippers who wound up with Westbrook. This didn't pan out, and instead it was Paul George who went to play with Kawhi Leonard and company.
Nevertheless, the Lakers got their man and Westbrook fulfills a childhood dream of playing for his hometown team.