The Los Angeles Lakers’ blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook became official on Friday as the team announced the five-team deal with the Washington Wizards and others was complete, introducing their newest star to the local media on Tuesday.
Westbrook has accomplished everything there is in the NBA except winning a championship, and he now has perhaps his best opportunity to do that playing alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a roster full of quality shooters.
In addition to potentially winning a championship, Westbrook will also be playing in his hometown of L.A., which he is excited about.
“First, it’s surreal,” Westbrook said. “I think it hasn’t kind of hit me yet being from L.A. Growing up not too far from here. Being able to watch the parades. Try to miss school to go to them being a Laker fan and being from L.A., but now everything coming full circle for me is a blessing.
“There’s a lot of things I can’t put into actual words because some of these things don’t come true for people like myself. I’m truly blessed and thankful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”
As things currently stand, the Lakers still have three remaining roster spots, so it will be interesting to see which direction they go with those. Regardless though, with James, Davis and Westbrook, they have to be considered the favorites to come out of the West as long as they stay healthy.
How the three stars will gel together will be the biggest question mark surrounding this team, but Westbrook believes that won’t be an issue.
“And then secondly, I’ve been blessed to be able to into my 14th season and each year I try to find ways like Rob mentioned to be able to uplift and make my teammates better around me. AD and Bron are friends of mine first, and me being their teammate my job is to come in and uplift them and they do the same with me vice versa.
“As the season goes on, we’re going to figure it out. There will be ups, there will be downs. That’s normal. That’s okay, but we’re going to figure out how to play the best way we want to play to win a championship.”
Howard appreciates Westbrook
Because of Westbrook’s inconsistent play in recent years, many fans have taken for granted how hard he plays on a night-to-night basis. Dwight Howard made sure to recognize Westbrook during his (re)introductory press conference though, stating how much he appreciates his new teammate.
“I think that he has been underappreciated, all of us really have been underappreciated. But I know that we appreciate each other, we appreciate what we each bring to the table for this team. So I think when having a guy like Russ, who’s gonna give you 15, 16, 20 points a night, he’s gonna get you 12 rebounds, he’s gonna get you 10 assists and he’s gonna give you 110% every night. How can you not appreciate it? I’m gonna tell you, I appreciate you Russ! And we haven’t even played on the same team yet or played a game together yet. But I appreciate what you do and I think everyone in L.A. is gonna appreciate it when you hold up that trophy at the end of the season. Why not?”
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