Russell Westbrook mentioned he’s becoming a member of a “championship-calibre” squad with the Los Angeles Lakers and is aware of it is going to be his duty to mesh with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the NBA’s newest tremendous crew.
Westbrook was formally launched as a member of the Lakers at Staples Heart on Tuesday alongside coach Frank Vogel and basic supervisor Rob Pelinka.
Los Angeles acquired the star level guard from the Washington Wizards in a blockbuster deal first reported on the night time of the NBA draft and finalised at the beginning of the brand new league yr.
The Lakers additionally acquired three future second-round picks from Washington whereas sending the Wizards guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, forwards Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma and the draft rights to ahead Isaiah Jackson.
Westbrook, who throughout his lone season with the Wizards set the NBA report for profession triple-doubles (184), is called a ball-dominant guard. The 2016-17 NBA MVP with the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder was requested how he envisioned sharing playmaking duties with James.
“As you realize, Bron is among the finest gamers to play this recreation, and his means to have the ability to form of do every little thing on the ground permits me to have the ability to simply determine it out,” the 32-year-old Westbrook mentioned.
“I am coming to a championship-calibre crew and my job is to guarantee that I will make his recreation simple for him. I will discover methods to do this all through the sport.
“Because it pertains to ball-handling and all that, it actually does not matter. There’s many various methods you may impression the sport with out having the ball in your arms, and I have been in a position to do this for a few years and I’ll determine it out.”
Westbrook hails from Southern California and performed collegiately for UCLA. He grew up rooting for the Lakers and later cast a friendship with the late Kobe Bryant — a relationship he mentioned “hasn’t left my head” since Bryant’s premature loss of life in 2020.
“That will likely be with me each time I put that Laker jersey on,” Westbrook mentioned Tuesday.
Pelinka mentioned two issues come to thoughts when he discusses Westbrook.
“One is that he is probably the most appreciated and revered and beloved gamers within the league by gamers he is performed with,” Pelinka mentioned.
“He is an unbelievable chief, and once you discuss to teammates from the opposite storied franchises he is performed for, to a person, the enter you get is that he is one of many nice teammates they’ve performed with. … After which the second factor is I believe he’s an elite class of gamers when it comes to his aggressive nature.”
Pelinka has constructed a crew that features not solely James, Davis and Westbrook, but additionally the brand new additions of veteran ahead Carmelo Anthony and heart Dwight Howard. These 5 gamers alone have 52 NBA All-Star nominations amongst them — and solely one in all them, Davis, is youthful than 30.
Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star and nine-time All-NBA choice (together with two first-team picks), joins Los Angeles searching for his first NBA championship. In 13 seasons with the Thunder (2008-2019), Houston Rockets (2019-20) and Wizards, he owns profession averages of 23.2 factors, 8.5 assists, 7.four rebounds and 1.7 steals per recreation.
In 2019-20, Davis’ first season alongside James, the Lakers beat the Miami Warmth to win the NBA championship within the pandemic-induced bubble in Orlando, the franchise’s 17th league title. However final season, the Lakers earned the No. 7 seed within the Western Convention out of the play-in match earlier than dropping within the first spherical to the Phoenix Suns.