Russell Westbrook’s LA homecoming didn’t exactly work out as planned.
Instead of helping the Lakers win it all, Westbrook was instead traded to the Utah Jazz.
But despite the unfortunate way things panned out, LeBron James had a positive message for Westbrook and the other traded Lakers.
“First of all, I shout out and salute the guys that left, Russ, Pat, JTA,” James said. “Also, DJ and Thomas. Those five guys. We all started the season together and tried to work to make some things happen and be the best that we could be out on the floor.
“So I salute those guys and their commitment to us trying to be as good as we could be on the floor. And right now, I mean, I like the guys that we have coming in. “I mean, it’s going to take some time for us to get to know one another, but I know that they play the game at a high level.”
James’ comments follow Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka explaining the moves he made at the trade deadline.
“I think when we made the Russell Westbrook trade, we did it with the hope of bringing a championship, having a big three,” Pelinka said on Spectrum Sportsnet. “And clearly, we fell short of that. But when something’s not working as a general manager, it’s your job to fix it.
“No one has a perfect track record,” he continued. “But when you feel like a team isn’t performing the way it’s supposed to you gotta rearrange the parts. And that was sort of what we did at the trade deadline. Now that said, Russell Westbrook was a consummate professional and had great games as a Laker. And we enjoyed having him as a Laker.”