Russell Westbrook has had one of the most tumultuous offseason of his career this season. With rampant trade speculation on where Westbrook could end up, the former MVP has had to block out the noise and focus on his unclear future. While the Lakers have made it seem like they won't be moving Russ, many reports of possible trades to send Russ to the Utah Jazz or Indiana Pacers have surfaced.
In the storm of criticism that has been coming Russ's way, Lakers President Jeanie Buss decided to show some support. She openly said that Westbrook was the Lakers' best player last season, referring to his availability for almost every game of the season. Considering how rare that is in the modern NBA, Brodie does deserve some credit for that.
Buss has been criticized for her comments because of how Russ played on the court when he was available, some even calling it disrespectful to LeBron James, who averaged over 30 points. However, Jalen Rose has come out in Jeanie's support on ESPN.
"You ain't gotta apologize for what you said. First off, because the bottom line of what you were doing was acknowledging availability."
"Somebody like her that's been around the game for whatever, she's seen the game go from players having pride in playing 80 to 82 games a year to players realizing they can play 60 to 65 games, get the same money and elongate their careers to make more money longer. That's what she was talking about."
"When you don't have a good season, some dominos are gonna fall. She wants to keep his (Westbrook's) value high and she wants to respect one of her players and a future Hall of Famer. Don't apologize to them. Don't let them miss your words, Jeanie."
When it comes to what Westbrook could provide as someone who wouldn't be on the injury list for the Lakers, that was incredibly useful during last season. The Lakers missed both LeBron and Anthony Davis for large chunks of the season.
The issue is that Westbrook wasn't necessarily leading the Lakers to wins when he was on the court. That could be chalked up to the supporting cast being bad, but Laker fans were evidently not impressed by what they saw. Whether Russ will get a chance to make it right in a Lakers jersey is not known, but it seems like the Lakers would have no issue with starting the season with Russ on the team.