Buddy Hield Trade Rumors: Lakers, Kings Were 'Close' to Deal Before Westbrook Move

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2021

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

The Los Angeles Lakers were reportedly "close to the finish line" on a deal to acquire Buddy Hield before completing the trade for Russell Westbrook on Thursday, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.

Los Angeles was prepared to send Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell to the Sacramento Kings for Hield before shifting its focus to Westbrook. The team sent Kuzma and Harrell to the Washington Wizards along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a first-round pick for the star point guard and two future second-rounders, as first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

"The Westbrook deal came together fast," Lowe noted.

The deal should make LeBron James happy, considering he reportedly spoke with Westbrook and Anthony Davis earlier this month about joining forces in Los Angeles, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Even with questions surrounding Westbrook fit in L.A., he is still a nine-time All-Star and former MVP who can take over games. 

The Hield near-trade creates a "what if" scenario for the Lakers, especially with Lowe noting the team could have also kept Caldwell-Pope and possibly re-signed point guard Dennis Schroder. The first-round pick might have also added a contributing rotation member.

While these players don't have the same star power as Westbrook, it might have been a better fit alongside James and Davis while creating a lot more spacing offensively. Hield shot 39.1 percent from three-point range last year, while Caldwell-Pope hit 41.0 percent of his attempts, representing much bigger perimeter threats compared to Westbrook (31.5 percent).

The Lakers will instead trust the proven stars.