Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Russell Westbrook, Lou Williams and More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIAugust 10, 2021

Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Russell Westbrook, Lou Williams and More

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    It's been a busy offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers, but considering they had only five players who were under contract for the 2021-22 season at the start of it, it needed to be.

    Now, L.A. has bolstered its roster with a plethora of veterans who will look to lead the team to its second NBA title in three seasons. The Lakers are built for short-term success, and they're clearly looking to bounce back strong from their first-round playoff exit this past season.

    The start of the new campaign is still two months away, so L.A. may not be done, either. But even if the Lakers don't make any more substantial moves, their roster is in better shape than it was a few weeks ago.

    Here's some of the latest buzz surrounding the Lakers as the offseason continues.

LeBron Preferred Westbrook Trade over Hield Deal

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Earlier in the offseason, one of the biggest rumors surrounding the Lakers was that they could be trying to work out a trade that would land them shooting guard Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings. While that deal never materialized, another big one did.

    Los Angeles acquired point guard Russell Westbrook as the centerpiece of a five-team trade in which it sent Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Washington Wizards. It was a major move for the Lakers, and it was one that star forward LeBron James apparently wanted to happen.

    "My reporting (is) that certainly LeBron James was in favor of this Russ move over the Buddy Hield move," Dave McMenamin of ESPN told The Lowe Post podcast (h/t Jacob Rude of Silver Screen and Roll).

    It makes sense why James would want to add a player as talented as the 32-year-old to a core that also includes Anthony Davis. Westbrook, a 13-year NBA veteran, is a nine-time All-Star, a two-time NBA scoring champion and the 2016-17 NBA MVP.

    With Westbrook joining forces with James and Davis for the first time, the Lakers are going to have numerous top scoring options to share the load over the course of a long season.

Lakers Showed 'Significant Interest' in Williams

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    In March, Lou Williams was traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Atlanta Hawks. He then helped lead the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, the guard will be back in Atlanta for a full season.

    Last week, the 34-year-old signed a one-year, $5 million deal to return to the Hawks. But it may not have been an easy decision, considering there appeared to be other teams looking to sign him, including the Lakers.

    According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Los Angeles was among the teams showing "significant interest" in Williams, along with the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks. So, he was going to be signing with a playoff contender no matter what but decided to return to Atlanta.

    Williams played two seasons with the Lakers from 2015-17 and is still a solid scorer (averaging 11.3 points in 66 games last season). However, Los Angeles had no trouble signing other veteran guards this offseason, after bringing in Wayne Ellington, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk and Kent Bazemore.

Oubre Received Offers from Numerous Teams, Including Lakers

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    After spending one season with the Warriors, Kelly Oubre Jr. opted to join a new team. He has signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets and will join a young core looking to lead the franchise to success.

    The 25-year-old had plenty of options when he was on the free-agent market, though. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported the Lakers had made him an offer, as did the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

    However, Oubre picked the Hornets, which will be the fourth team he has played for during his NBA career. And he'll be heading into his seventh season.

    The Kansas product is coming off a strong 2020-21 campaign in which he averaged 15.4 points and 6.0 rebounds in 55 games for Golden State. And although he could have been a strong addition to the Lakers' rotation, they've brought in veterans such as Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza to be scoring options on the wings.