Russell Westbrook was signed by the Los Angeles Clippers this week after the Utah Jazz waived him.
One week earlier, the Los Angeles Lakers mercifully dealt him away ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline following a turbulent one-and-a-half year run together.
Westbrook was all smiles at his new team’s practice on Wednesday.
During a quick session with the media, he also took what many view as a lowkey jab at the Lakers.
Russ says he’s happy to join a team where the players and fans want him there 💀 pic.twitter.com/UVU84CZhPr
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) February 23, 2023
“That’s a huge part, man, for anybody, for any normal human being in any situation in the workplace,” Westbrook said on being with the Clippers now.
“A lot of teammates and people who want you here, that’s very important to me. I value that a lot. I have been in this league a long time and being somewhere where people want you in there, appreciate you, that means a lot to me.”
It’s hard not to read between the lines there. Given what Lakers team president Rob Pelinka said about Westbrook after the trade, and taking into account both Anthony Davis’ reaction to the move and LeBron James’ reaction to the move, the states of those relationships are pretty clear.
It will be interesting to see how Westbrook ultimately fares with the Clippers.
Devin Booker isn’t taking the Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny situation well. https://t.co/RQOTfdnFho
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 23, 2023
If he thrives with his new organization and they win a championship or come close to it, then it will be clear that the Lakers were the problem all along.
Should Westbrook falter with the Clippers and exhibit some of the problematic behavior he became known for as a Laker, then obviously he will be viewed as the issue.
One way or another, the second half of the NBA season will answer a lot of questions about Westbrook, the Lakers and the Clippers.