Lakers Urged Not to Trade Russell Westbrook by 3-Time NBA Champion

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook talks to reporters during media day

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook talks to reporters during media day

A three-time NBA champion believes the Los Angeles Lakers should keep Russell Westbrook.

Devean George, who won three titles with the Lakers in 2000, 2001 and 2002, told TMZ Sports that he thinks Los Angeles shouldn’t trade Westbrook, who has been on the trade block for several months.

“I mean, I think it can work,” George said. “I’m just a fan of Russ, though. That’s why I think it could work. Maybe I’m caught up in what he’s done in the past, but I’m just a fan. He needs to play different, but I think he can make it work.”

Westbrook started 78 games for the Lakers last season. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists, which are solid numbers, but Los Angeles went 31-47 in Westbrook’s 78 appearances and missed the playoffs. The one-time MVP was second in the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage, making him a poor fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

According to an October 3rd report from Sam Amick, Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers seriously considered sending Westbrook and unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Indiana Pacers for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield before training camp started. While Westbrook wasn’t traded, the prospect of him being moved in the coming weeks and months remains real.

George: Westbrook-LeBron-Davis Big 3 Can Work

George thinks a Big 3 of Westbrook, James and Davis can work if each star plays their role and sacrifices for the betterment of the team. James, Westbrook and Davis appeared in only 21 games together last season. The Lakers were 11-10 with their three superstars on the floor together, a 43-win pace over the course of an 82-game season.

“Play their role,” George said about how Westbrook, James and Davis can be successful together. “Cut down on what they used to do and understand this is a new team. They’re not on their old team. Play their role. But I think it can work. It’s too much talent. I think that’s just the main thing is everybody just do their role and cut back and not say what I used to do. I think it could work, but I’m just a fan of Russ, so I’m a little biased.”

James and Davis have already won a championship together, so we know they can co-exist. For Westbrook to be a better fit next to James and Davis in 2022-23 than he was last season, he has to limit his turnovers and make his jumpers. The future Hall of Famer shot 29.8% from beyond the arc last season, and among 46 players to take at least 1,000 shots, Westbrook ranked 42nd in true shooting percentage.

George Thinks Lakers Can Be Dangerous in Playoffs

George, who played 429 games with the Lakers during his NBA career, is confident that the Lakers can make some noise in the playoffs if James, Davis and Westbrook stick together.

“I think they can get into being a dangerous team come playoff time,” George said. “I mean, I don’t think they’re gonna run off 60, 70 wins because of the talent. They’re older. … Once playoff time comes, I think they’ll be able to make some noise. … I see them as a playoff team.”

Westbrook is expected to start for the Lakers under new head coach Darvin Ham despite the additions of Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroder. The UCLA product hasn’t come off the bench in an NBA game since November 28th, 2008, a month into his rookie season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When Ham was asked about the possibility of Westbrook coming off the bench during his introductory press conference in June, Westbrook — who was at the press conference — laughed at the notion.

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