He also understands how to engineer a trade.
In 2019, Westbrook reportedly asked Kawhi Leonard about joining him on the Clippers. Instead, Leonard used that request to pry Westbrook’s Thunder teammate Paul George. In the aftermath of trading George to L.A., Oklahoma City became open to moving Westbrook and sent him to the Rockets.
The clear lesson after Westbrook got foiled in his plan to join Leonard with the Clippers: Once one star wants out, a team is more likely to move its other star.
So, Westbrook went to Bradley Beal this summer.
And before Westbrook resorted to calling Leonsis, he had tried to convince Beal in the weeks leading up to the draft that they should both ask out of Washington, according to sources. Short of Beal showing a desire to also request a trade, Westbrook was hopeful Beal would at least support his efforts to get to L.A. — which, sources said, Beal did.
Westbrook had been telling those around him for weeks that he was finally coming home, but now those dreams seemed to be slipping away. So shortly before noon on July 29, he asked his billionaire boss, Ted Leonsis, for a personal favor: Find a way for him to land with the Lakers. That passionate plea set off a chain of events that resulted in the Lakers assembling one of the most star-laden and veteran teams in league history.
The decision left Sacramento management steaming, sources said.
Kyle Kuzma said a trade that would’ve sent him and Montrezl Harrell from the Lakers to the Kings for Buddy Hield was “done.” Instead, Los Angeles dealt Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma, Harrell and the No. 22 pick to get Westbrook from the Wizards.