NBA Rumors: Lakers Tried To Trade Russell Westbrook For Buddy Hield Before The Deadline

Russell Westbrook and Buddy Hield oncourt
Getty | Harry How

Ernesto Cova

Long before he even tried out the Los Angeles Lakers jersey, people around the NBA talked about how trading for Russell Westbrook was a mistake.

His well-documented history of lack of playoff success, his ball-dominance, and erratic decision-making, made him a bit of a questionable fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

And now that we have two-thirds of the season in the record books, it seems like those who doubted him were wrong to do so.

Lakers Knew They Made A Mistake By Trading For Westbrook

Russell Westbrook
Giphy | NBA

According to Sam Amick, even the Lakers feel like they made a mistake by trading for Westbrook. As a matter of fact, they even tried to move him before the deadline without him knowing:

"That being said, it has long since been revealed that the Lakers (26-30, ninth place in the Western Conference) know they made a mistake by adding Westbrook," Amrick wrote. "I wrote in early January about how they showed covert interest in discussing possible Westbrook deals early on this season. The “covert” part, in case anyone wondered, referred to the general idea that they were really hoping Westbrook wouldn’t find out."

They Tried To Move Him To Sacramento

Buddy Hield
Getty | Thearon W. Henderson

Notably, the Lakers tried to turn back the clock and do the deal they were close to doing before trading for Westbrook. Reportedly, they offered him to the Sacramento Kings in an attempt to lure Buddy Hield, but to no avail:

"But more specifically, sources say one such scenario involved Sacramento and — wait for it — a deal in which then-Kings guard Buddy Hield would be sent to the Lakers," Amick added. "Yes, that’s the same Buddy Hield who came so close to being traded to the Lakers in the summer before they prioritized the Westbrook trade with Washington and left the Kings fuming."

LeBron And Davis Wanted Westbrook, Not Hield

Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James
Getty | David Berding

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that LeBron James and Anthony Davis advocated for Westbrook and told Rob Pelinka to trade for him instead of Hield, eventually leading to the controversial move:

“James and Davis encouraged the Lakers’ front office to go all-in for Westbrook rather than proceed with GM Rob Pelinka’s plans to trade for Sacramento’s Buddy Hield," reported Stein, per Bolavip.

Rob Pelinka Still Has Faith In Westbrook

Russell Westbrook
Getty | Katelyn Mulcahy

But even despite the rumors and the struggles, Pelinka still claims that it's too early to jump to conclusions about their Big 3, as they've barely been able to play together due to multiple injuries:

“I think if you took any three All-Stars in the NBA and your body of work was 15 games, I think that would probably be a small number of games to make any ultimate conclusions on,” Pelinka said after the deadline, per The Athletic.

But now, with Davis out with an injury, it seems like we may never know how good they can be together.