Sunday, January 16, 2022

Russell Westbrook addresses Lakers trade rumours

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With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching, few star players have received more mention than Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook. The veteran was a popular scapegoat for the Lakers’ struggles to get the season started.

In the first 42 games, the Lakers would again be in the play-in tournament at the end of the season. When asked about the recent trade rumours, Westbrook seemed unfazed by the chatter, noting that he will “never worry” about potentially leaving Los Angeles.

“I’m not worried,” Westbrook told The Athletic’s Sam Amick during a Jan. 14 feature story. “Do the job. Be professional. My name is in the trade (rumors) every year. It never, ever, ever seeps into my approach to what I do. It’s kind of what I mentioned there (during the press conference ) I see this game so differently (in terms of) how you use it to be able to influence things.

“Regardless of whether (a trade) took place or not, nothing will change my mentality or my goal. I feel like I have a goal that’s bigger than basketball and I always keep that at the forefront regardless of what’s happening in pro sports.”

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Westbrook’s comments come just over a week after Amick previously reported that the Lakers had “shown a hidden interest” in potentially trading with the Star Guard before the trade deadline. The looming question is whether the Lakers can find a trading partner willing to take Westbrook’s $44 million salary.

“All of this explains why sources say the Lakers showed a covert interest in discussing a possible Westbrook trade with competing executives earlier this season,” Amick explained Jan. 5. “A deal seems extremely unlikely before the February 10 trading deadline, if only because its deal, once considered untradable by so many, is such a massive impediment. But within the Lakers, there seems to be some realization that this hasn’t gone the way (James and Davis planned).

Despite Westbrook’s struggles, LeBron James has continued to support his fit with the Lakers. James recently explained why he’s optimistic Westbrook is the right offseason for the Lakers.

“I think he just has to keep trusting his shot,” James noted during a Jan. 9 press conference. “Obviously his shot hasn’t been in his favour, lately, but I think he just needs to continue to believe in it, so.

“We love it when he plays at a high level. We love it when he plays with a high engine and pushes the pace because when we’re good, [when] We’re really good, we get fastbreak points and it starts with Russ attacking the early transition.”

Westbrook has been candid about the Lakers’ need to “figure it out,” adding that he would have to make the “biggest sacrifice” to make things work.

“We’re all trying to figure it out as a team, as a unit, to be able to say, ‘Okay, how can we figure this out?'” Westbrook told The Athletic. “And I know I’m the one who has to make the biggest sacrifice – and I understand that – so I have to be able to find a way to make the best of it and make the best of it for this team and.” that’s it.”

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