Russell Westbrook’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers hasn’t gone the way anyone hoped it would.
When L.A. originally acquired Westbrook, the front office had visions of a three-headed monster akin to the one that LeBron James won his Miami Heat titles with.
Instead, Los Angeles failed to make the playoffs altogether last season and will likely suffer a similar fate in 2023.
Since agreeing to come off the bench this season, Westbrook has actually become a much more palatable piece on the team. Although he is still objectively underperforming relative to his contract, he is at least playing better.
This past week Westbrook recorded 21 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists in 36 minutes off the bench to lead his squad past the Miami Heat.
During a session with the media afterward, he sent Lakers fans a message with his choice of hat:
Russell Westbrook wearing a hat from his clothing line, Honor the Gift, with “Give me my flowers” written on the brim pic.twitter.com/BtiQxSUBgh
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) January 5, 2023
“Give me my flowers,” the hat read.
Westbrook is a former league MVP and had some truly spectacular years with the Oklahoma City Thunder. There is a reason why some make the case that, all-time, he is actually superior to Chris Paul.
That said, he also seems to have it in his head that the response he has gotten from Lakers fans throughout his time in purple and gold has been unfair.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Not only was he a bad fit alongside James and Anthony Davis from the jump, but he also had a bad attitude about. His refusal to come off the bench, something that he ended up having to do anyway, was a big reason why Frank Vogel got fired.
The Lakers’ stance on trading Westbrook has shifted in recent weeks.
Instead of talking about Skip Bayless, let’s talk about the Bills hero who saved Damar Hamlin’s life. https://t.co/rEmnY5xQOV
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 5, 2023
It is impossible to know which way Rob Pelinka and Co. plan to go.
But either way, whether he remains or departs ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline, it is safe to call the Westbrook-in-L.A. experiment a failure.
To do so isn’t depriving Westbrook of his flowers – it is simply accurately assessing the situation as anyone with eyes can see it to be.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.