The Los Angeles Lakers made a number of moves prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, but the biggest was undoubtedly dealing away Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz in a three-team trade. The move brought back D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt as pieces to surround the Lakers superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Throughout his tenure in Los Angeles, Westbrook was someone who caught a lot of flack and took a lot of blame for the Lakers’ struggles. While some of that was certainly warranted, it did seem to go overboard at times. But in the aftermath of the trade, Davis spoke to his former teammate and believes Westbrook is in a good place mentally.
“I was kind of in that situation in New Orleans,” Davis said. “Fans and organization. Everything. … We had a conversation today. I’m not sharing what we talked about, but I feel like he’s in a good place mentally. It can weigh on someone when I feel like the world is on your shoulders from a playing standpoint, media standpoint, fans. Everything. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with him, you know, getting bought out or what or anything, but I think he’s in a good place.”
It is definitely good that Westbrook is taking things well. Despite the issues, there were still some positive moments for him in purple and gold and he showed a lot about his character by embracing his role off the bench.
It simply wasn’t the best fit with the Lakers and now he can move on to the next stage of his career. He was still well-liked amongst his teammates and Davis made sure to clear up things about Westbrook as a person off the court as well.
“He’s ready to just get back to being Russ. Leaving everything behind that he had to deal with the past couple of years whether it was with the fans, media or whatever,” Davis added. “But I want people to know that overall, Russ is a really good dude. We had the same agent before and me and him got really close, so outside of all the basketball stuff or what people say about him on the floor and everything, he’s really a good dude. The perception on him is that he’s not and he’s this and that, but I think he’s going to be fine.”
Regardless of whatever issues there may be with Westbrook on the court and his fit on the team, there is never anything bad said about his character and how he is as a man, and Davis and the rest of the Lakers have nothing bad to say about him on his way out the door.
Darvin Ham praises Russell Westbrook for ‘unbelievable sacrifice’ he made with Lakers
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham also had the opportunity to say some not-so-kind things about Westbrook following his trade to the Jazz, but like Davis, Ham had nothing but praise for everything he did.
“I’ll put it like this, Russ made an unbelievable sacrifice and complied with my strategy of bringing him off the bench,” Ham said prior to the Lakers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks. “And as I said before, it wasn’t a demotion, it was a realignment and I thought it would bring more balance to us as a team and we tried to do that every day. And we came out and played well. And like any other player, there were good moments and not-so-good moments in terms of getting stuff done on the floor.
“But make no mistake about it, I have nothing but the utmost respect for him as an individual and everything he’s accomplished in this league. I’ll just leave it there, everything else is pretty much irrelevant at this point.”
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