Who Won The Russell Westbrook Trade? (Argument)

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to being foulded by Gabe Vincent #2 of the Miami Heat during the first half of a game at Staples Center on November 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)


Russell Westbrook was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Lakers over the offseason.

It marked the third consecutive offseason Westbrook was sent to a new team starting with the trade away from Oklahoma City.

The details of the trade were as follows:

  • Lakers Receive: Russell Westbrook, 2024 2nd-Round Pick, 2028 2nd-Round Pick
  • Wizards Receive: Kentavios Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, 2021 1st-Round Pick (#22 Overall)

This trade ended up being part of a larger 5-team trade, the details of which can be found below.

As with all trades, there must be a winner and a loser.

Today we will review the winner between the Lakers and the Wizards in the blockbuster Westbrook deal.


Westbrook Off to Slow Start

When the deal first went down, there were immediate concerns with the fit between the Lakers Big 3.

Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis are all immensely talented players, but none are considered great 3-point shooters.

James is the leader of the bunch as a career 35% shooter from deep, with Westbrook and Davis just barely clearing 30%.

So far, it has been even worse as the three learn to play together.

Westbrook is hitting just under 30% of his 4.2 triples per game.

Davis is even worse at 15% on 2.1 attempts per game.

Which has led to James trying to become more of a threat from deep – attempting a career-high 8.2 threes per contest.

Russ and slow starts are nothing new.

It took him time to acclimate after joining the Rockets and the Wizards.

Here’s how his first 13 games with the Los Angeles stack up against Houston and Washington.

  • Houston Rockets: 21.8 Points, 7.9 Rebounds, 6.9 Assists – 41.6%/22.7%/71.1%
  • Washington Wizards: 20.0 Points, 9.1 Rebounds, 9.0 Assists – 41.2%/35.7%/67.6%
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 19.4 Points, 8.8 Rebounds, 8.5 Assists – 42.6%/29.6%/65.6%

LA is 7-6 and while they average 110 points per game (7th best in the NBA), they have the 24th ranked Offensive Rating.

For a team with championship expectations, AD does not believe they are a title team at the moment.


Winner: Wizards (For Now)

Washington has to be considered the winner of the deal through the first month of the regular season.

Their 8-3 start is tied for the best start since 2014-15.

They are in the top half of the league in both points scored per game and points allowed per game.

And their +4.2 net rating is good for 7th best in the league.

Kuzma, KCP, and Harrell are all playing major minutes and making great contributions next to star Bradley Beal.

While the Wizards did well to flip Westbrook into solid pieces to surround Beal, the true winner won’t be known until May.

Los Angeles didn’t bring Westbrook in to win regular-season games, they brought him in to help win titles.

And if he can find his role come playoff time and bring the Larry O’Brien back to LA, his slow start will be forgotten.

Teams trading away stars very rarely win the trade.

If Westbrook can’t find his footing in his hometown and the Wizards keep playing well, Washington may remain the winner of this deal.

We need more time to make a final determination.

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