Westbrook: I don't need to feel wanted by Lakers
Whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers hope to have Russell Westbrook on their roster by the start of the season is irrelevant to the former MVP.
"I don't need to," Westbrook told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski when asked if he felt wanted by the franchise. "I need to just do my job. Whether I'm wanted or not doesn't really matter.
"I think the most important thing is that I show up for work and I do the job like I've always done it: Be professional and go out and play my ass off and compete."
Los Angeles has reportedly been trying to trade Westbrook ahead of the 2022-23 campaign but has been unsuccessful, likely due in large part to the $47 million owed to him in his final year under contract.
The nine-time All-Star's first season with the club last year was one of the worst campaigns of his career, both on an individual and team level. The Lakers floundered to a 33-49 record and missed the postseason, while Westbrook's offensive struggles saw him occasionally benched during the final stretch of close games.
The franchise's offseason moves suggest it's preparing for a future without Westbrook. The Lakers traded for point guard Patrick Beverley, who has long feuded with Westbrook throughout their careers, and signed free-agent guard Dennis Schroder, further densifying an already crowded backcourt.
If Westbrook does remain on the roster to begin the season, the Lakers have reportedly given serious thought to bringing the two-time scoring champ off the bench. Despite not operating as a reserve since Game 17 of his rookie year, the 14-year veteran is adamant he will do whatever it takes to help the Lakers on the court.
"I'm all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win," Westbrook said. "I'm prepared for whatever comes my way."
- By the numbers: Standout stats from a record-breaking night in the NBA
- LaVine out 3-4 more weeks with right foot inflammation
- Clippers overcome Jokic's triple-double to snap 8-game series skid vs. Nuggets
- Luka records 1st 25-point triple-double in an opening half vs. Jazz
- Bane scores career-high 49 points, Grizzlies deliver Pistons 18th straight loss