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#pounditSaturday, September 18, 2021

Report: Russell Westbrook was Lakers’ ‘Plan B’ entering offseason

Russell Westbrook

The Los Angeles Lakers moved quickly to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards ahead of the NBA Draft, giving the team a third star and a solution at point guard for next season. A new report states, however, that Westbrook wasn’t necessarily the team’s first choice.

According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the Lakers entered the offseason with two names at the top of their wish list. The team wanted to pursue Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, and hoped that one of those two players would seek to leave Portland and Washington, respectively.

The Lakers quickly concluded that neither player was going to be readily available. Plan B included Westbrook or Chris Paul, while Sacramento’s Buddy Hield was the team’s Plan C. Hield was linked heavily to the Lakers on Thursday, with the apparent reason being that Los Angeles got the impression that the Wizards were taking a wait-and-see approach with Westbrook. When Westbrook became available, the Lakers made the deal and abruptly abandoned their efforts to acquire Hield.

In the end, things came together pretty well for the Lakers. Lillard never requested a trade, and Beal is clearly staying put for now as well. They acted quickly when Westbrook became available, and they got their man. It may not have been their ideal outcome, but it’s a pretty good one.

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