The Los Angeles Lakers had been linked to a lot of different trade targets since their season ended in the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. During the 2021 NBA Draft, they pulled the trigger.
After it was reported that the Lakers were going to acquire Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings, they pivoted at the last minute to a deal with the Washington Wizards. In this deal, the Lakers acquired superstar point guard, Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers are receiving Westbrook, a 2024 second-round pick and a 2028 second-round pick in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
This is a huge trade, as the Lakers now have their own Big 3 with Westbrook joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While many people are pointing out the negatives to this deal, such as the Lakers’ already poor floor spacing getting worse, there are positives to this deal.
Los Angeles now has someone that can carry the offense other than James. Westbrook is an elite playmaker that can handle running the offense for periods, taking some pressure off of James. His presence will also help the Lakers push the ball and get into the open court more for easy baskets.
While they were likely to be a destination for veterans looking to chase a ring, they became an even more attractive destination after landing Westbrook.
Here are four veteran free agents that could ring chase with the Lakers for the 2021-22 season.
4. Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin has already begun his ring chasing tour. After agreeing to a buyout with the Detroit Pistons last season, he signed with the Brooklyn Nets to help them win an NBA Title. Injuries derailed Brooklyn, as Kevin Durant was the only healthy player remaining of their Big 3 when they were eliminated from the postseason by the Milwaukee Bucks.
After struggling mightily with the Pistons, Griffin was a good player with the Nets. He provided some floor spacing, knocking down 38.3 percent of his 3-pointers in the regular season and 38.9 percent in the playoffs. He also picked up his intensity on the defensive end in Brooklyn.
Griffin could look to get paid a little more this offseason, as his performance with the Nets could land him more than a veteran’s minimum. The Nets could also re-sign him, as they are lacking depth across the roster.