The Los Angeles Lakers brought in Russell Westbrook to team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, believing that the trio could bring the franchise back to championship glory. Unfortunately, injuries limited their time together and even when the trio was healthy, they struggled to all get on the same page.
Now, headed into the offseason there is a widespread belief that the Lakers will look to move on from Westbrook be it via trade, buyout or outright release. In the eyes of most, the trio of James, Davis and Westbrook simply doesn’t work, but Dwight Howard still has belief that the three could come together given the appropriate time.
“Obviously, it can. I think it can, but it takes time and we live in a microwave society where we want results right away,” Howard said. “Things take time to mesh. You’re looking at three guys in Russ, AD and LeBron [James] who need to have the basketball in their hands to be effective. That’s how Russ has been his whole career. He’s been the guy with the ball. He’s been making decisions and stuff like that. So is LeBron and you’ve got AD who’s the one up-and-coming star who needs the ball in his hands as well.
“It’s very tough coming in first year you play at home. It’s probably very difficult, so I can understand being uncomfortable all season long because you’re trying to make it work so bad. It goes back to what I was saying about the wall. You’re trying to do so much to get through, but it’s just like it’s not working right now. Sometimes you’ve got to sit back down and regroup and figure out how it can work and what you have to sacrifice, put away in order to be successful.”
Sacrifice is a word that is always brought up as a necessity in stars coming together to win a championship. It’s what was spoken about throughout all of 2020 when the Lakers accomplished that goal. But considering Westbrook’s comments in his exit interview, many will wonder if he is willing to make those necessary sacrifices.
But Howard can relate a bit to a difficult first year in purple and gold and he believes that can be a necessity to figure out what is needed moving forward.
“My first year here we had some very difficult times through the season and you start to hear things and stuff going on like that. That energy can kind of really cause you to feel discomfort,” Howard added. “Sometimes in life you have to get uncomfortable first to become comfortable and I think that we all had to get a little bit out of our comfort zones this year. I believe that if we were to have an opportunity to come back, we’ll be a little bit more at ease and we’ll have a better season.”
Whether or not they will have the chance to do so is unclear as trade rumors have been flying around Westbrook since the moment the season ended. But if they do remain together they will have the chance to truly grow together as Howard believes they can.
Howard wants to remain with the Lakers going forward
Howard’s own future with the Lakers is unclear as he is a free agent this summer after signing a one-year deal with the team. But if he has anything to do with it, Howard will remain with the purple and gold for the remainder of his career.
“Why do I want to leave? I want to be cemented somewhere,” Howard said. “I love being here. I love the fans. I have a good time,” Howard said during his exit interview. “I really want an opportunity where I can really go out with a bang (laughs). I’ve only got a couple years left, so I want an opportunity where I can go out and show my skills and talent and do it in the right way, but also win. I feel like I deserve it.”
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