LeBron James Sends Message on Lakers Trading Russell Westbrook

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Getty LeBron James broke his silence on the new-look Lakers.

LeBron James has been the king of using subversive comments to send messages to the Los Angeles Lakers front office, but the superstar made his feelings about the trade deadline moves clear this time around. James appears to be pleased with general manager Rob Pelinka’s recent moves as the deadline came to a close. The Lakers star offered a “salute” to Russell Westbrook and the other former L.A. players who were dealt while gushing over the new additions.

“First of all, I shout out and salute the the guys that left: Russ [Westbrook], Pat [Beverley], JTA [Juan Toscano-Anderson],” James explained during a February 16, 2023 press conference. “Also, DJ [Damian Jones] and Thomas [Bryant], those five guys, we’ve all started the season together and tried to work to make some things happen and be the best that we could be 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 like the guys that we have coming in. It’s gonna take some time for us to get to know one another, but I know they play the game at a high level. I think D-Lo [D’Angelo Russell] is a really good, shifty point guard, can space the floor. Very crafty, very deceiving with his quickness, the way he plays the game.

“Obviously, we got a laser in Malik [Beasley] that we just never had this season. Where a guy, no matter if he’s on the floor. No matter if he’s making or not, you have to respect him because his ability to shoot the ball. He has kind of that J.R. Smith feeling to him that he can miss 10 in a row and he can make 10 in a row right after that.”

Where Will Russell Westbrook Sign?

After more than a year of constant trade rumors, the Lakers finally traded Westbrook, and it remains to be seen whether the point guard will stay with the Jazz. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the veteran will use the All-Star break to determine whether he will remain in Utah or potentially agree to a buyout, a move that would allow Westbrook to immediately become a free agent. One name that continues to be linked to Westbrook are the Clippers, which could make for some awkward interactions at with his former Lakers teammates at Crypto.com Arena.

“The Jazz have blessed Westbrook, who is averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game this season, to take his time deciding if he wants to become a free agent or finish out the season in Utah,” Stein wrote on February 16.

“The LA Clippers and the Chicago Bulls have been the most frequently cited potential suitors for Westbrook should he negotiate his release from the Jazz. But sources say that the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards have also expressed interest.”

LeBron James Appeared to Want Russell Westbrook Traded

James attempted to take the high road on Westbrook, but the Lakers star was clearly more than willing for the former All-Star to move on after initially pushing Pelinka to acquire the guard in 2021. The Lakers legend’s public comments about his desire for the team to acquire Kyrie Irving crystalized James’ desire for Westbrook to be moved at the trade deadline.

James never publicly used Westbrook’s name but financially the Lakers would only have been able to acquire Irving if he was moved. Time will tell if the Lakers’ marriage to D’Angelo Russell and the newly added players will be a long-term fit, or if the front office will shake-up the roster again when free agency begins this summer.

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