Russell Westbrook has never been scared to call out a reporter and a heated exchange involving the Los Angeles Lakers guard gave some insight about a rumor that linked the former MVP to the Clippers.
The report from Ramona Shelburne of ESPN centered around Kawhi Leonard recruiting Westbrook to LA in 2019, only to spurn him and link up with his former Thunder teammate Paul George instead.
According to multiple sources, Leonard then called Westbrook’s teammate in Oklahoma City, Paul George, and told him he’d rather team up with him on a homecoming.
When the Lakers faced the Clippers this week it brought up some questions about that story, considering it was the first time Westbrook — and LA native — was talking part in the rivalry matchup. When asked about the report, Westbrook was thoroughly standoffish.
Westbrook Has Issues With Anonymous Sources
Westbrook appeared to dispute the report, badgered reporters on their sources and went on a rollercoaster of convoluted questions about what the question actually was.
“I’m talking about for me, I don’t know what nobody else do. I have no relations with no media outlet where they come to me and go ‘here, Russ, I got a source for you.’ That’s not what I do, and now you guys know that,” Westbrook said. “I never sit back and call anybody. I sit back and wait, and figure out if somebody wants to play with me, and then cool, that conversation can happen. But those private conversations that are had, I keep that to myself, so I have no answer as it pertains to that.”
Westbrook seemed to take particular issue with the story from Shelburne, assuring it wasn’t him who gave her the insight.
“One time, this person reports something, like who reported it? Ramona reported a story about Kawhi (and I). I never talked to Ramona. Right?” Westbrook said. “Like, I can talk to Kawhi, and I can talk to PG, I can talk to anybody, and they can say ‘well I never talked to her neither.”
So did Westbrook ever want to play for the Clippers alongside Leonard? That question will likely never be answered — at least if it’s up to Russ. He ultimately ended up in Los Angeles and is finally starting to hit his stride with his fourth team in four seasons.
Westbrook Had Solid Shade for Clippers Prior to Matchup
The Clippers ended up beating the Lakers 119-115 on Friday night but Westbrook delivered some pretty good shade before the “rivalry.” Westbrook, who grew up in LA, never saw the Clippers as a rival of the Lakers.
“No, I didn’t view anything as a rivalry. I was viewing my grades as my rivalry,” Westbrook said with a deadpan look.
So what topic was his nemesis?
“Math? Nah, I killed math. It was me vs. biology, chemistry, that’s what I was worried about. I wasn’t worried about no Lakers or no Clippers, to be honest,” Westbrook said.
The Battle of LA will only get more interesting as the season rolls along and even Kendrick Nunn chimed in this week to add a little extra to the matchup.