Washington Wizards did not enter the offseason with plans of parting ways with Russell Westbrook, as general manager Tommy Sheppard confirmed in an offseason press conference.
Westbrook wanted to play in his hometown, after spending most of his NBA career in Oklahoma, Houston and Washington last season.
(via NBC Sports Washington):
“That was a very, very unusual circumstance where the day before the draft we were kind of spitballing some ideas and getting some input. I had a heart-to-heart with Russell and it was important to him that I knew and the Wizards knew he wants to play here,” Sheppard said.
“If there was ever an opportunity with the Lakers, that would be the one place. I look at his Hall of Fame career and all he did for us, certainly, for me, I will try to help a guy as long as it helps the Wizards. In this case, we could do a deal, and it did help the Wizards.”
Westbrook played in Washington for one season, leading the Wizards to their first postseason appearance in three years. He opted to get traded to the Lakers this offseason.
The Wizards received Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and a first round pick in what ended up being part of a much larger package in a five-team deal.