Lakers, Wizards' Updated Roster, Salary Cap After Russell Westbrook, Kuzma Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2021

Washington Wizards' Russell Westbrook dribbles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards commandeered NBA draft night with a blockbuster trade centered around Russell Westbrook.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Lakers will acquire Westbrook, a 2024 second-round pick and a 2028 second-rounder in return for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA draft.

ESPN's Bobby Marks provided the financial ramifications of the swap:

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Salary implications on a proposed Westbrook trade: To LAL Russell Westbrook 2021/22- $44.2M 2022/23- $47.1M (P) To WAS Kyle Kuzma 2021/22- $13M 2022/23- $13M 2023/24- $13M (P) Montrezl Harrell 2021/22- $9.7M KCP 2021/22- $13M 2022/23- $14M ($4.9M guaranteed)

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

The Lakers are right at $130M in salary heading into the offseason. Can still bring back their own free agents, including Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker. LA will also have the $5.9M tax ML and vet minimum exception.

Here's who the teams will have under contract for 2021-22 once the trade is made official:


Los Angeles Lakers

PG: Russell Westbrook

SF: LeBron James

SF: Alfonzo McKinnie

PF: Anthony Davis

C: Marc Gasol


Washington Wizards

SG: Bradley Beal

SG: Caleb Homesley

SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

SF: Davis Bertans

SF: Deni Avdija

SF: Chandler Hutchinson

PF: Kyle Kuzma

PF: Rui Hachimura

PF: Daniel Gafford

PF: Anthony Gill

C: Thomas Bryant

C: Montrezl Harrell


Los Angeles seemed to eliminate any questions about Kuzma's future when it handed him a three-year, $39 million contract that goes into effect with the 2021-22 season.

However, he quickly became the subject of trade speculation this summer.

The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported July 21 the 26-year-old included in a possible package for Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook. Charania linked him to the Sacramento Kings in a trade involving Harrison Barnes.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski summed up the situation by reporting the Lakers had shopped Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope "to almost every team I've talked to in the league."

When it comes to Kuzma, one issue is that his own opinion of himself seems to be out of step with what he has done in the league so far.

In an interview with Bleacher Report's Tyler Conway, he said he "I definitely can" when asked if he can put up 25 points per game and make an All-Star team:

"I've done a great job every offseason of trying to build something and add something to my game. I've turned myself into a great defender. My rookie year, I was a stop sign on defense. I didn't really stop anybody. Now, whether it's elite wings, 4 men, even point guards and shooting guards, I have the ability to guard four positions now and really affect the game on that end of the court."

Bradley Beal is the obvious No. 1 option on the Wizards, but Kuzma might have a bigger role in Washington than he would have had in Los Angeles. Perhaps he'll get the opportunity to show he can be a 20-point-a-night scorer.

The book on Westbrook is well known by now, and it seems unlikely he'll drastically change his style at this point in his career. The fact he's a 29.6 percent three-point shooter in the playoffs is obviously a concern, but exchanging Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope and Harrell for the 2016-17 MVP should be a net positive for the Lakers.

The big question now is what the franchise plans to do next.

Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond and Wesley Matthews are among the Lakers' free agents. Although the arrival of Westbrook seemingly lessens the likelihood of Schroder returning, the problem is that Los Angeles doesn't have much flexibility to add outside pieces.

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

The Lakers can add salary in a trade for a player under contract but not with regards to a free agent in a sign-and-trade. https://t.co/ESUtOTVhzi

General manager Rob Pelinka still has a busy offseason ahead.


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