Russell Westbrook's situation with the Los Angeles Lakers is extremely confusing at the moment. The franchise recently acquired someone he has had a lot of beef in the past with, Patrick Beverley, which led to many taking it as a sign that Westbrook would be moved on. However, this was followed by LeBron James hyping up his star point guard on social media, which Beverley also responded to. There is no way to tell where Westbrook's career will go from here.
Last season was arguably the worst of the former MVP's career. He failed to live up to his usual level of playmaking and tenacity, and his numbers dropped across the board, becoming the main scapegoat for the Lakers missing the play-in tournament entirely. And while he tried to fight the slander and criticism coming his way from time to time, the Lakers not being able to win largely drowned out Russ' protestations.
With the media constantly debating Westbrook's future, though, Stephen A. Smith has thrown some shade at his teammate. Talking about the cynicism surrounding Westbrook in the NBA community at the moment, Smith pointed to LeBron James as someone that has contributed to it.
(starts at 00:37 minutes):
"Anybody that's counting on him to be worse or think this dip means he's never gonna be what we once knew him to be, that's a mistake. He's just too athletic, he's too competitive, he cares too much about competition to just go out like that. That ain't in his nature, so I'm not questioning that.
"Which is why I'm gonna throw some shade on LeBron James for a second here, who I love dearly. Let me tell you something about LBJ when it comes to this. He needs to stop too. And here's why he needs to stop. The cynicism involving Russell Westbrook, LeBron contributed to that... LeBron is guilty of that.
"Remember when he was in Houston, and they were in the playoffs against the Lakers? And LeBron James and the Lakers was talking about, 'He with us, he with us' when he had the ball? So you go from that to insisting that the Lakes take him. Then after he has a bad year, you've allowed stuff to percolate about you and Kyrie reuniting... Stop that nonsense, LeBron James, stop it."
LeBron James has reportedly been wanting the Los Angeles Lakers to get Kyrie Irving all summer. With that no longer on the table, the King is now praising and hyping up Russ once again. Stephen A. Smith does make some good points in his rant on that front. The only thing that can make a difference for the Lakers now is winning, James and Westbrook will have to come together and make it happen for the franchise for the slander and the criticism to stop.