NBA

Westbrook 'all-in' with the Lakers amid trade and role player talk

By Sports Desk September 25, 2022

Russell Westbrook's first season with the Los Angeles Lakers was anything but a success and he has been linked with a trade elsewhere, yet he maintains he is all-in ahead of the 2022-23 season.

The 2017 NBA MVP, who turns 34 in November, averaged 18.5 points per game last season – his worst scoring return since his second NBA year – after moving from the Washington Wizards to the Lakers, who missed the playoffs.

The nine-time All-Star also averaged 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists, despite the Lakers bringing together Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

There was criticism that Westbrook was not the right fit in that team, although the trio only played together 21 times in their 33-49 season. That has led to suggestions Westbrook could be traded or transitioned into a role that would see him come off the bench.

"I'm all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win," Westbrook told reporters. "I'm prepared for whatever comes my way.

"There's so much optimism on how we can be great, how AD, LeBron, myself – can be unstoppable in my opinion."

The 33-year-old point guard reiterated that he still had plenty to offer, despite the downward trajectory of his 2021-22 statistics.

"I'm not even close to being done," Westbrook said. "I'm super grateful and blessed to be able to go compete year after year, and that's all I can do is prepare myself, my mind, my body for as long as I play.

"I'm going to make mistakes. I'm [occasionally] not going to have good games. There will be times and stretches when I don't play well.

"I've owned that, and there were times last year that I could've played better, and I own that part of it. Moving into this year, I feel even more prepared than I was in years past. That's what I'm looking forward to the most. That, right there, will get me past any struggles that come my way."

Westbrook's tough season also included copping boos and jeers from fans, although he insisted he had no scars from that and was more concerned about its impact on those close to him.

"I had to fight my response on how it affects the people close to me," he said. "To me, that was the important part. Confidence is not something I lack.

"Yes, there were times last season that I wanted to play better – that I should've played better – but my confidence never wavers. Having bad games is part of the NBA, and I understand that.

"The only thing it affected, for me, was the impact that it had on the people closest to me – my mom, dad, wife, brother, close friends.

"We've never had to deal with that as a family. That was the most difficult thing – being booed in the arena and having my kids there. I'd look over at my wife, my parents, and try to get them to know that it's okay. Having played so long in the league, I'm more accustomed to it."

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