Rolling Out

Russell Westbrook goes from being LeBron James’ teammate to in-town rival

Westbrook hopes to fit in with the rival Clippers in ways he never did with the Lakers
Russell Westbrook goes from being LeBron James' teammate to in-town rival
Russell Westbrook. (Photo credit: A.R. Shaw for rolling out)

 

Russell Westbrook, the Los Angeles native who became a pariah in his own city due to his putrid play with the Lakers, is staying in the City of Angels as he signs with the in-town rivals, the Clippers.


Westbrook was traded from the Lakers to the Utah Jazz prior to the trading deadline in earlier February 2022. However, according to ESPN, Westbrook is going to sign with the Clippers once his contract is bought out by the Jazz, which is pretty much a foregone conclusion.


Through 52 games for the Lakers in 2022-23, Westbrook clocked in respectable numbers with 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. However, Westbrook’s very inefficient shooting from the field, (41.7 percent from the field, and near-league worst 29.6 percent from 3-point land), poor defense and lack of chemistry with established Lakers’ stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis did not bode well for the team to even make the playoffs, much less compete for a championship.

Things got so bad for Westbrook during his return to his hometown that the former league MVP was often booed at home, and sports pundit Skip Bayless took to describing Westbrook as “West-brick,” which greatly angered the point guard.


Diminished league prestige notwithstanding, there were a number of suiters for Westbrook’s services, especially the Clippers who are still searching for their first NBA title despite importing two superstars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in 2019.

“I mean if there’s, you know, somebody out there – Russell … If it makes sense and obviously it goes with our team, we’re all for it. You know, we need a point guard. But you know, [at] the same [time], I think we’re good as well. If nothing happened, we got enough in this locker room to be able to make it work,” George, aka, PG13, told CBS Sports.

“But it would definitely improve our team if we had that traditional point guard to kind of get us in things and make the game easy. So hopefully Russell sees this, and we figure something out,” PG13 added.

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