It was purple and gold or bust for the veteran point guard.
Since spending the first 11 years of his career in Oklahoma City and establishing himself as one of the most explosive and dominant point guards in NBA history, Russell Westbrook has bounced around a little bit. Not quite like an aging vet trying to hold on for a couple years but more like a triple-double machine looking for the best place to fulflil his insatiable desire to win basketball games.
Jumping from OKC to Houston to play with fellow superstar and former Thunder teammate, James Harden, the Brodie had success with the Rockets but with tension between The Beard and the front office, it was clear the team was on the cusp of a rebuild and Westbrook was traded to Washington.
In one season playing alongside All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal, Westbrook returned to form, averaging a triple double (22.2 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 11.7 apg) for an unimaginable fourth time but the Wizards were bounced in the first round and the point guard was faced with another opportunity to change teams.
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Making it clear that Westbrook never formally requested a trade, Wizards’ general manager Tommy Shepard said it was the Lakers or bust for Russ.
“Russell actually never asked to move on,” Sheppard told NBC Sports Washington. “He just said, ‘If I can get to the Lakers, that’d be something I would love to do.”
Westbrook grew up in Los Angeles and with LeBron James and Anthony Davis looking for help after a disappointing 2020-2021 season following their NBA Finals championship, a trade to the Lakers made perfect sense.
Shepard took Westbrook’s wishes into account but asked about another move that would also send Westbrook home.
“What about the Clippers?,” Shepard said he asked Westbrook, to which the 2017 NBA MVP answered with a resounding “Hell no.”
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Despite Russ’ desire to get home to LA, it was the Lakers or nothing. Reportedly telling Shepard that it was either the Lakers or returning to the Wizards, Westbrook made it very clear he had no interest in playing with Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers. Assuming that’s because Paul George signed a huge deal to stay in OKC with Westbrook and then turned face and left for LA (to play with Kawhi, who had previously sabotaged Westbrook), it makes sense why Russ has a little bad blood and it will make sense when he goes as hard as possible every time he lines up across from the Clippers in the Staples Center this season.
What do you think of Russ shooting down a potential Clippers trade? Let us know in the comments.