When news broke that Montrezl Harrell had decided to opt into the final year of his contract (per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski), it looked like Buddy Hield to the Los Angeles Lakers was a lock.
Instead, minutes later, Shams Charania of The Athletic broke a Russell Westbrook trade request, and word broke that the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers are nearing a deal for the All-Star point guard.
So what happened? Should we be surprised by the quick about-face?
And what happens next, specifically for the Lakers, who add a third star to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis but lose valuable depth in doing so?
What Happened with the Hield Deal?
Per NBA sources, the Lakers went into the offseason with a clear Plan A: unrealistic hopes of landing a Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal. Plan B was Chris Paul (but then the Phoenix Suns advanced to the NBA Finals) and Westbrook. Hield was always Plan C.
Over the past few weeks, the Lakers pursued Westbrook and Hield in parallel conversations with the Wizards and Sacramento Kings. As the draft neared, the Wizards seemed content to wait on big decisions with Beal and Westbrook.
That pushed Hield to the forefront. But even as the possibility of a deal built around Kyle Kuzma and Harrell began to form, the Lakers kept the door open to a Westbrook deal.
Westbrook asserted his voice into the conversation, and per an NBA source, the Wizards pivoted. Just like that, the pieces the Kings liked for Hield were no longer available.