The Los Angeles Lakers’ Big 3 experiment with Russell Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis fell flat after Year 1 together.
The Lakers missed the playoffs, and Westbrook finds himself in trade rumors constantly as the team tries to claw its way back to the Finals. Prior to the deal being made, though, James and Davis considered their options and who might be a fit to play with them in their quest to capture another title.
Damian Lillard was an obvious candidate after several underwhelming years with the Portland Trail Blazers and he recounted the day he met with the Laker duo in Los Angeles to discuss a possible partnership, via Logan Murdock of The Ringer:
“He was just like, ‘Pull up to the house,’” Lillard told me recently. “And I’m like, shit, I’m out here. Tomorrow is the only day I ain’t got nothing planned out. I can pull up for a little bit.”
Now Lillard was seated across from James and Anthony Davis, who needed help in their quest for another title. That evening, they indulged in expensive wine and Italian cuisine and discussed their plans for the future. “We just chopped it up just about the possibilities,” Lillard said.
It was the first time in Lillard’s career he had seriously considered leaving the Trail Blazers and he admitted he gave serious thought to playing for the Purple and Gold:
“After years of stagnation, including four first-round exits wrapped around a trip to the 2019 West finals, Lillard was open to seeing what the rest of the league had to offer. And for a moment at LeBron’s table, the Lakers duo was making a compelling case for Lillard to leave, enough to form a fleeting idea of donning the purple and gold. “I mean, of course I thought about it,” Lillard said. “Like, man, what if that happened? What if I did go? I thought about it. At that point, I was thinking about a lot of things.”
Lillard added: “I was like, ‘If I’m going to ever look at a different situation than mine, I’m going to look at one where I know I’m going to have a great chance to win.’”
It’s fun to think about what Lillard would look like next to James and Davis, but that ship has sailed and now Los Angeles has to find ways to make it work with its current roster. The 2022-23 season will be an inflection point for the franchise, and it’ll be fascinating to see how it unfolds for the superstars involved.
Damian Lillard offered advice to Russell Westbrook after 2021-22 season
Westbrook’s first year with the Lakers went poorer than anyone could imagine, fueling the fanbase’s desire to see him moved. After the season ended, Lillard revealed what he would say to Westbrook if the two ever connected.
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