Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Happy To Reunite With Former UCLA Teammate Darren Collison
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Collison has finally joined the Los Angeles Lakers after months of rumors linking the veteran guard with L.A.

Collison has had a tough few games to start his Lakers career. However, interim head coach David Fizdale pointed out Collison hadn’t played since 2018-19 before coming out of retirement and signing a 10-day contract with L.A.

Fizdale said the 34-year-old has been in great shape considering he’s coming off a three-year break from NBA basketball, adding he was excited to see the guard back in the game. Similarly, Russell Westbrook said he was happy to reunite with his former UCLA teammate.

“It’s great to see him back in the NBA,” Westbrook said. “He’s a good friend of mine, we’ve talked throughout the years when he was out the league and obviously during the league, competing against each other. Competing with each other in college and now with the Lakers back in L.A., it’s great.

“Especially when you know it’s someone that’s been out of the league and he was trying to figure out if he wanted to come back and he’s back now and it’s good to have him in the locker room and his energy back around. It’s good to see him.”

Fizdale has revealed Collison worked out for the Lakers in the summer and “got really high consideration” to make the 2021-22 roster.

Given his chemistry with Westbrook, it would not be surprising to see Collison get more action alongside his former college teammate moving forward.

Collison didn’t expect to play Christmas Day basketball again

As Fizdale continued leading the Lakers while Frank Vogel remained in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, he told his players about the importance of gratitude ahead of the clash with Nets by using his unexpected stint as the team’s interim head coach as an example.

And, he added, Collison related to the coach’s story, sharing with his new teammates he didn’t expect to play in one of the NBA’s marquee Christmas games again.

“I just gave the guys a corny speech about gratitude and how you never know where you may end up, and I used my own example as a guy here [coaching] and Darren Collison looked at me and said ‘yeah, me too. Two years ago, I never thought I’d be playing on Christmas Day’ [laughs],” Fizdale said.

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