After they traded for Russell Westbrook on draft night, the Lakers put themselves atop the 2022 NBA championship race. Russ is a big piece for this team, given his quality and achievements. Even though he's past his 30s, Brodie can bring a lot of things to the table this campaign.
A couple of months ago, the Lakers pulled off a big move, landing him from Washington in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and a first-round draft pick. This meant that they created another superteam in the league with Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.
However, the purple and gold had more options. According to a recent report, they were focused on two different players. Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Bill Oram of The Athletic recently revealed that Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard were the top targets for the Lakers before they turned their heads to Westbrook.
The group focused first on Lillard and Beal, but with no viable path to trading for either of them, turned their attention to more realistic targets: Westbrook, DeRozan, Hield and Kyle Lowry, who would eventually pursue a deal with the Miami Heat instead.
There was genuine excitement shared in the player meetings about how DeRozan would fit. Even if he wasn’t the Lakers’ first choice, it was easy to envision a scenario where he would be their best available option.
For the Lakers, according to those with knowledge of the situation, it was imperative to keep as many potential avenues open as possible.
After losing to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 playoff, the front office decided to look for alternatives. Their star duo of James and Davis was injured during a big part of the season. They needed that third-string they failed to get in Dennis Schroder, Kuzma, or any other player on the roster.
In the two months that followed their first-round playoff flop against Phoenix, when Davis’ groin injury left them pulling up lame, the Lakers explored the prospect of trading for such stars as Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan and Russell Westbrook. The process unfolded well beyond the team’s front office’s search, with James setting up a war room of his own at his Brentwood estate for some in-person player meetings while leading remote communications in other conversations.
Westbrook asked Wizards owner Ted Leonsis to make a deal with the Lakers, which made things easier for the point guard. He's now back home, ready to help this team to the championship once again.
Things fell into place for Brodie, and now people in Los Angeles are excited to see a new Big 3 in L.A., as the Lakers attempt to reclaim their throne following a disappointing 2020/21 season.