Russell Westbrook hasn’t been shy about telling people how much better he’s doing after his Lakers stint.
The Clippers were eliminated in round one at the hands of the Suns on Tuesday.
After the game, Clippers beat writer Tom Azarly asked Westbrook when he felt a weight has been lifted off after he was traded from the Lakers and landed a spot with the other LA team.
“Once I got traded,” Westbrook said. “Immediately, to be honest. From that moment, honestly, mentally, I was in a better place.”
Westbrook now becomes a free agent over the summer, but don’t be surprised if he stays put.
“A well ran organization from top to bottom,” Westbrook said of LAC. “A happy and enjoyable environment. It’s something that you don’t see everywhere. Happy to come to work, happy to do their jobs.
“I love it here. I love the people. Just the fans, the way they embraced me, my family, my close friends… I definitely love being here. As far as my decision, I’ll cross my bridge when I get there.”
Clippers coach Ty Lue is definitely keen to get the point guard back next season.
“Hopefully you guys can see that Russ still has a lot left in the tank,” Lue said. “Hopefully he’s back with us next year. Then again, this has opened eyes for a lot of the teams [who may want to] give him an opportunity, if he can go out there and really get paid. But I want him back, for sure.”
Westbrook had to steer the ship in the last three games against the Suns as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were both out with knee injuries, which allowed the Suns to clinch the series with a dominant 4-1 record.
In his mind, Westbrook endured much worse at the Lakers and even though their postseason is still alive, he seems at peace with where he ended up.
“It [the season] started off difficult , honestly,” Westbrook said. “But I’m so grateful and blessed to end up in a situation where I’m just allowed to be myself and be able to be brought in with open arms… I’m happy and blessed to be able to finish another season. It’s been a roller coaster.
“I’m grateful for the people that supported me… And also grateful for the people that didn’t support me.”
The 15-season veteran averaged 23.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists in five playoff games.