The Los Angeles Lakers ended up hitting a home run during the NBA trade deadline. It was unclear if the team was going to be able to offload Russell Westbrook for less than two first-round picks but the team was able to do that and then some.
For the price of one (protected) first-round pick, the Lakers were able to offload Westbrook while also making the roster younger and more talented. Jarred Vanderbilt, D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley came to LA via the Westbrook trade while the team also added Mo Bamba and Rui Hachimura in other deals.
This was as good of a trade deadline that the Lakers could have had as it made the team better for a playoff push this season while also improving the outlook of future seasons. All in all, fans were extremely pleased with the outcome.
What makes the deadline even better for the purple and gold is the fact that it almost didn’t happen. In their pursuit of trading Jae Crowder, the Phoenix Suns almost kept the Lakers’ Westbrook trade from happening as Beasley and Vanderbilt would have ended up in Phoenix with Crowder in Atlanta (h/t Michael Scotto, Hoops Hype).
Thankfully the trade fell through because who knows what the Lakers would have done if they were unable to make the trade with Minnesota and Utah. Crazy enough, though, this isn’t the only trade that Crowder almost derailed.
NBA Rumors: Jae Crowder almost derailed the Lakers’ Rui Hachimura trade as well.
The Rui Hachimura trade was not as big as the Westbrook trade but that too was also almost thrown into the wayside. Scotto reports that the Washington Wizards were also in the running for Crowder and that Hachimura was on the table.
Per Scotto, Washington ultimately pulled out of the Crowder sweepstakes and instead decided to offload Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers for multiple second-round picks.
This is a perfect example of how a domino effect can impact multiple teams throughout the NBA. Not only were the Lakers able to end up with the new-look roster that fans are currently in love with but the Suns were able to include Jae Crowder as part of the four-team trade that brought Kevin Durant to Phoenix.
It probably worked out for all parties involved. The Suns got their superstar, the Lakers got their much-needed depth, the Wizards got their draft picks and Crowder actually got to go to a contender, the Milwaukee Bucks.
The only team coming up empty-handed in this is the Atlanta Hawks.