Make no mistake; landing Russell Westbrook isn't the last move the Lakers are making this offseason. The purple and gold are trying to get their revenge after a tumultuous 2020/21 NBA season.
They're ready to keep adding more firepower and surround Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis with a couple of shooters. Before they completed the trade for Brodie, the Lakers were linked with Sacramento Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield.
Following the blockbuster deal with the Washington Wizards, many fans believed Hield would stay in Sacramento, but the Lakers are still interested in landing the swingman. To do so, they would ship Dennis Schroder to the Kings.
A trade for Buddy Hield is still possible, but it would most likely have to get a free agent with full Bird rights included as part of a sign-and-trade for Hield, such as Dennis Schroder. Such sign-and-trade discussions cannot begin until free agency commences on August 2.
One possibility is trading Schroeder straight up for Hield. An $18.6 million starting salary matches Hield’s $23 million salary. Anything higher reduces his outgoing salary to $15.5 million due to Base Year Compensation. The Lakers could include Alfonzo McKinnie on a partially guaranteed amount if Hield’s likely incentives upon being traded to the Lakers require a bit more salary matching. However, the Kings don’t have a fit for Schroder for the type of salary he could command.
More realistically, the Lakers can get Hield if this trade for Westbrook with the Wizards gets expanded into a three-team deal with the Kings. Schroder would still have to be involved likely at that $18.6 million starting salary amount, but he can be rerouted to the Wizards or a fourth interested team. Connecting the dots, perhaps the Kings could get still get Kuzma or Harrell while the Wizards get Caldwell-Pope, Schroder, and McKinnie.
With three players like LeBron, Westbrook and Davis, the Lakers need some floor-spacing. Hield can be a terrific player in that role, taking the purple and gold to the next level.
Although they didn't have the biggest cap space entering the offseason, the Lakers' front office can work their magic and get two pieces that can earn them a championship next season.
Time will tell if they can pull off this move, but after seeing their last three offseasons, the 17x NBA champions are the franchise that can make this happen.