Russell Westbrook Doesn't Regret Trade to Lakers: 'It's Bigger Than Basketball'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 14, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 09: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers brings the ball up court during the first quarter  at Crypto.com Arena on January 09, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Despite individual and team struggles this season, veteran guard Russell Westbrook has no regrets about getting traded to the Los Angeles Lakers during the offseason.

When asked if he had any regrets, Westbrook told Sam Amick of The Athletic: "No. Nah. I mean, not at all, because—like I told you—it's bigger than basketball for me."

While the Lakers hoped a Big Three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook would get them back to the top of the Western Conference, things haven't gone as planned, as the Lakers are seventh in the West with a disappointing 21-21 record.

L.A. parted with a great deal of depth in exchange for Westbrook, sending forward Kyle Kuzma, center Montrezl Harrell and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Washington Wizards.

While the Lakers didn't have to move any stars to land Westbrook, it can be argued that their trade for the nine-time All-Star has been a loss.

In 42 games this season, Westbrook is averaging 18.7 points, which is his lowest scoring total since 2009-10, his second year in the league. The 33-year-old is also putting up 8.2 rebounds and 8.1 assists per contest, more in line with his career numbers.

Aside from that, Westbrook hasn't been efficient, shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from beyond the arc while turning the ball over 4.4 times per game.

Westbrook's uneven play has had a role in the Lakers' inconsistency this season, but he isn't solely to blame.

Both James and Davis have missed time because of injuries. Given that the team is built on their backs, the Lakers can ill afford to lose them for any period of time.

LeBron has been healthy and highly productive as of late, but AD has been sorely missed, as he has sat the past 12 games with a knee injury and isn't due back anytime soon.

Davis is arguably the premier big in the NBA, and the Lakers don't have another player on the roster who can come close to replacing what he brings to the table.

AD's absence has put even more on the plate of James and Westbrook, and while James has risen to the occasion, Westbrook is still trying to find his way.

Westbrook came home to Los Angeles in search of the final accolade needed on his Hall of Fame resume: a championship.

It isn't outside the realm of possibility that the Lakers could get back to that level when Davis returns, but right now, they aren't playing championship-caliber basketball.