After struggling earlier this season, Oklahoma City Thunder’s “Big Three” of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony are finally showing good chemistry. They are currently on a four-game winning streak, residing in the fourth spot in the deep Western Conference. However, ESPN’s First Take Max Kellerman doesn’t see Westbrook and the Thunder as the team representing the West in the 2018 NBA Finals.
As of now, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets are top favorite teams to battle for Western Conference supremacy. Failing to at least enter the Western Conference Finals may result for the Thunder to lose another superstar, Paul George, in free agency. If things don’t work out this season in Oklahoma City, Kellerman believes it’s best for Russell Westbrook to consider a move to his hometown team, Los Angeles Lakers, in the upcoming offseason.
The Lakers are playing without a legitimate superstar on their team since Kobe Bryant retired in 2016. If there is an NBA player who could be the perfect replacement for Bryant, it will be Westbrook, according to Kellerman. The 29-year-old point guard is one of the most explosive players in the league right now. He recently joined Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Jason Kidd as the fourth member of the NBA’s 100 triple-double club, per ESPN.
What makes the Lakers an intriguing trade destination for Russell Westbrook is the potential acquisition of Paul George and LeBron James in the upcoming free agency. After engaging in a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers before the February 8 trade deadline, the Lakers put themselves in a strong position to sign two maximum-salaried players. If they acquire Westbrook before free agency hits and George signs earlier, there is no doubt that James will be heading to Los Angeles.
As everyone knows, James will consider signing to a team where he has a higher chance of winning multiple NBA championship titles. In the past free agency, he joined the Miami Heat in 2010 to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, while he returned to Cleveland to play alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Forming a new “Big Three” with Westbrook and George will enable him to compete against the Warriors’ “Super Death Lineup.”
However, in order for the Lakers to make this impossible dream possible, they will be needing to sacrificing multiple young assets and drafts. The Thunder will surely the demand the likes of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram if ever Russell Westbrook really demands a trade to the Lakers.