The Los Angeles Lakers shook up the offseason by acquiring star point guard Russell Westbrook. It’s significantly impacted the Lakers‘ offseason plans toward filling out the rest of the roster. The blockbuster move may guide the front office toward adding one of Westbrook’s former teammates.
Lakers make blockbuster trade to land Russell Westbrook
The Lakers started their offseason off with the aggressive move to acquire the former league MVP.
Los Angeles eyed adding a playmaking guard who can help offset the offensive workload for LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook brings that to the table behind his scoring and playmaking as a passer, especially after finishing his fourth campaign averaging a triple-double.
The 32-year-old’s all-around play presents another element to the Lakers that they lacked last season. Westbrook struggles with his 3-point shooting (30.8% for his career), but Los Angeles will benefit from his scoring prowess and intensity on both ends of the floor.
He’s coming off leading the league with 38 triple-doubles while being the second player in NBA history to average at least 11 rebounds and 11 assists per game in a season. His 3-point shortcomings aside, he remains one of the league’s top talents. His presence will allow the Lakers to always keep at least one star player on the floor throughout any game.
Beyond that, Westbrook is in the fourth year of his five-year, $206.7 million deal that pays him $44.2 million next season and possesses a roughly $47 million player option for the 2022-23 campaign.
As the Lakers move toward constructing the rest of the roster, they may push the franchise to bring aboard one of Westbrook’s former teammates.
Lakers may sign 1 of Russell Westbrook’s former star teammates
As the Lakers head into free agency, the front office is expected to strategically put together the supporting cast around its three stars.
It’s quickly led to several prominent veteran players being mentioned as potential additions. Among those names is former All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report on Spaces via Twitter.
The free-agent market for Oladipo may be bare due to his recent struggles with lingering injuries. He’s coming off a rough 2020-21 season that saw him bounce around from the Indiana Pacers to the Houston Rockets to the Miami Heat.
The 29-year-old played only 33 games, averaging 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. Oladipo isn’t facing any questions concerning his talent, but rather his durability as he’s experienced difficulty remaining healthy. It lends to the route of taking a one-year deal to prove he’s worth a lucrative contract next offseason.
Those factors open the door to the Lakers swooping in to take a chance on him through a low-risk contract. It sets up the opportunity to team up again alongside Westbrook, who he played alongside for the 2016-17 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oladipo will draw some interest around the league, but the one-year deal may be the only viable route to get his NBA career back on track.
Los Angeles will dive headfirst into free agency
Oladipo may quickly become one of the Lakers’ viable free-agency options.
Los Angeles may not possess the financial flexibility to offer a lucrative deal to any player. Still, the opportunity to compete for an NBA title may be more than an appealing factor. It’s already led many notable veterans, such as Carmelo Anthony, Patty Mills, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala, Wayne Ellington, and Rudy Gay, to become feasible additions.
The Lakers will dive into the free-agency pool to add shooting and depth around their star players. Time will tell what talent the front office can bring aboard.