Lakers News: Kevin Durant Happy To See Russell Westbrook Thriving In Bench Role
Russell Westbrook Kevin Durant Lakers
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

While much of the focus prior to the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Brooklyn Nets was on the fact that LeBron James and Kevin Durant still have not shared an NBA court together since 2018, it was forgotten that this was the latest meeting between Durant and his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook.

The two practically grew up together in Oklahoma City and since the split, the meetings between them have often come with a lot of trash-talking and fun moments. At some points in the Lakers’ 13-point win, Westbrook was even tasked with guarding Durant, which he did admirably for the most part, even coming up with a huge block on the 7-footer.

Westbrook seemed extra motivated any time he was matched up with Durant on both ends of the court, and while Durant believes his former teammate does a lot of fouling, he is still happy to see him making an impact in this role. “He’s just going to hack me the whole time,” Durant said when asked about Westbrook guarding him. “He’s been doing that s–t since we were 18, 19.

“But more than anything, to see the role Russ is playing right now, he’s just affecting the game in so many different ways. 12 assists tonight, four turnovers, 14 points, he came in there and put his imprint on the game. So it’s always fun playing against him, regardless of what setting it is, it’s always been like that.”

Westbrook’s 12 assists were huge with the team still without their primary playmaker in James. He regularly got players easy baskets and despite struggling shooting the ball, made a positive for the Lakers overall on this night.

The change in Westbrook is noticeable and the energy he brings to this Lakers team since moving to that sixth man role is obvious. The joy that seemed to be missing is now back as he is playing with the confidence and aggression that has made him a future Hall of Famer. And for his former teammate Kevin Durant, that was great to see, even in a loss.

Lakers receiving calls from other teams on Russell Westbrook

With Westbrook noticeably performing at a greater level, it has not only resulted in some better outings for the Lakers, but also some interest from other teams. The Lakers have been shopping Westbrook since the offseason but nothing has come to fruition. But with his recent play, the front office may have some more options at their disposal.

Recent reports suggested that the Lakers are now receiving calls about Westbrook since he began thriving in his bench role, though it was added that no talks were at a serious stage just yet. But for a Lakers team in need of some reinforcements, it now looks like Westbrook is a more viable trade piece to bring assets back.

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