Russell Westbrook Has 'No Response' to Magic Johnson's Criticism of Lakers' Effort

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2022

Magic Johnson speaks during a tribute to former NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna who were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, before the NBA All-Star basketball game Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Huh

Russell Westbrook declined to comment on Magic Johnson's critical tweet of the Lakers' effort in Saturday's 133-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

"I do not have a reaction," Westbrook told reporters. "Everybody is entitled, in this world, to their opinion. Regardless of what that it is. You can either take it and run with it or you can take it and put it in one ear and out the other or you cannot respond to it.

"Magic's entitled to his opinion. And he's not here every day. He's not around us every day. He's not aware of what's going on internally with us and trying to figure things out. But I have no response to that. ... Like I said, everyone in this world is entitled to their opinion and that's that."

Johnson ripped into the Lakers during the game, calling out what he perceived as a lack of effort.

"We as Lakers fans can accept being outplayed but we deserve more than a lack of effort and no sense of urgency," Johnson tweeted. "Owner Jeanie Buss, you deserve better."

LeBron James did not speak to reporters after the loss, which dropped the Lakers to 21-22 on the season. The Lakers are undoubtedly the biggest disappointment at the season's halfway mark, with James and Westbrook struggling to coalesce on the court and Anthony Davis missing the last month with a knee injury.

The bloated salaries of the three Lakers stars makes roster improvement a borderline impossible task. Combining Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn in a deal gives the Lakers $14.5 million in cap holds to float around in a trade, but Horton-Tucker's stock has taken a nosedive this season, Nunn has yet to make his season debut, and the Lakers don't have much in the way of draft capital.

It's almost certain the Lakers make a move to bolster their roster ahead of February's trade deadline. That said, their biggest improvement before the playoffs will have to include health and the jelling of their three stars on the floor.