Russell Westbrook has gone down as one of the most unpopular players in recent Los Angeles Lakers history. Some of it was Westbrook’s fault but it cannot all be put on the former MVP as the front office should have known better than to ever add him in the first place.
Westbrook was never a logical fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis and that bore itself out throughout his 18-month tenure with the team. However, even though it wasn’t directly his fault, Westbrook’s play style and massive salary were the direct reasons for the Lakers’ struggles, so he rightfully shouldered the blame.
Westbrook didn’t do much to help his cause either, though. Los Angeles fired former head coach Frank Vogel because of his inability to maximize Westbrook and Russ had no problem kicking him on his way out. These passive-aggressive moments in the media would continue, which only made the relationship even more toxic.
The former MVP has since found a new home with the Los Angeles Clippers and there has been a honeymoon phase. Westbrook has seemingly reinvented himself and Clippers fans have flocked to him (even though the team hasn’t really accomplished anything with him).
That may have all ended on Friday night, though, as Westbrook is starting to pull the same moves that he did with the Lakers. Following the team’s first win with James Harden (in which Harden made the game-winning shot), Westbrook decided to show his frustration for the first time all season and not talk to reporters.
Russell Westbrook is doing the same thing he did on the Lakers on the Clippers.
This is weird timing for Westbrook considering two things. Not only did the Clippers secure their first win with Harden on the roster on Friday night, but this came after a game in which Westbrook “voluntarily” came off the bench.
The reports before the game were around Westbrook voluntarily making that decision to help the team win. Westbrook’s teammates and coaches applauded his efforts as a team player both before and after the game for doing this.
But something doesn’t add up. This wasn’t Westbrook coming off the bench and still playing close to the same number of minutes. This was Westbrook coming off the bench and only playing 17 minutes. He was averaging 30.7 minutes per game before this move. His playing time was nearly cut in half.
So he “voluntarily” offers himself up to move to the bench, gets his playing time cut nearly in half, and then decides not to talk to the media after a win? That doesn’t seem like someone who is having fun and might not even be someone who actually volunteered to come off the bench.
Of course, this is all speculation as nobody truly knows what happens behind closed doors, but fans should really think about the reporting of this entire situation. Why would Adrian Wojnarowski of all people report that Russ volunteered to come off the bench? Where would he get that intel from, and why would his source want him to have that intel?
Whether it was from Westbrook’s camp to make him look better or was from the Clippers’ camp to try and save face, there is a reason why that was reported. It was to quell some of the storm, which Westbrook, unfortunately, let back out when he decided not to talk to the media at all on Friday.
These are the same media gymnastics that continually kept happening when Westbrook was donning the purple and gold. Thankfully, Lakers fans can watch this happen from a mile away and simply laugh.