The Los Angeles Lakers made the biggest move so far this offseason by landing Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards via a five-team mega trade. The 32-year-old star is yet to win his first championship, despite playing 13 seasons in the NBA. For the Lakers, he is a major piece, who helped the team form the Big 3 alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Rob Pelinka, the general manager of the team, shared his thoughts about Westbrook and why the Lakers decided to add him to the team. “Thinking about Russell Westbrook, there’s two things that come to mind for me as a general manager,” Pelinka said during Westbrook’s introductory press conference.
“One is that he’s one of the most liked and respected and beloved players in the league by players he’s played with. He’s an incredible leader. When you talk to teammates from the other storied franchises he’s played for to a man the input you get is that he’s one of the great teammates they played with. And that’s speaks to his character and his leadership. And those are qualities that are incredibly important to our team.
“And then the second thing is, I think he’s in an elite class of players in terms of his competitive nature. One of the core qualities as we build the roster is seeking out guys that have an ultra sense, a heightened sense of being competitive warriors on the court, players that play with the ultimate sort of grit and grind and tenacity. And Russell stands as in an elite class in that category. And that’s drawn us to him.
“And then I would say the last thing that I’ve really seen in the growth of his game is early in our careers I think all of us when we’re young we see things a certain way a lot of his triple-doubles early were done by force. But I think now his triple-doubles are done with force and with thoughtfulness and how he uses the pieces and the players he plays with as teammates and makes the sum of its parts greater than each individual. And I think he’s learned how to think the game at a higher level. So those are some of the qualities that attracted us to this day.”