Lakers News: LeBron James Chastised For Role In Russell Westbrook Deal By ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith

Lakers News: LeBron James Chastised For Role In Russell Westbrook Deal By ESPN's Stephen A. Smith thumbnail

As we have discussed multiple times just today, $47.1 million starting point guard Russell Westbrook has been absolutely brutal during your Los Angeles Lakers’ 0-3 kickoff to the 2022-23 regular season.

Around the basketball and sports media landscape, a lot of talking heads have taken notice. Many people have noticed Stephen A. Smith, an ESPN legend, as he singles out LeBron James, the Lakers’ best player, for convincing L.A.’s front office and ownership to trade Russell Westbrook for its worst player (in the team’s rotation anyway).

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James apparently played an instrumental role in advocating that the team trade away several core pieces of its 2020 championship roster to trade for the clearly washed-up Westbrook during the 2021 offseason.

“The Lakers are just awful at shooting the basketball… These brothers would shame construction workers. Construction workers can’t compete with these brick-layers from Southern California. I don’t remember a time when the Lakers were so devoid of shooters. It’s so bad. “

“If [you’re] Russell Westbrook, if we say you can’t shoot, you gotta respect the fact that that is not an attack against your character, that’s an attack on your ability to shoot the basketball… Oh by the way LeBron, you had Kyle Kuzma. You had Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. They were both part of the championship team. You were one of the people who encouraged the Lakers’ to unload that so you could get Russell Westbrook, a brother. Rob Pelinka, I don’t care about his contract extension, [he’s] got to do something about this roster.” Rob Pelinka, I don’t give a damn about his contract extension, [he’s] got to do something about this roster.”

As you’ll no doubt recall, Los Angeles flipped Kuzma, KCP, Montrezl Harrell and its first-round draft pick to add Westbrook to the team… and promptly went 33-49 in 2021-22.

The Lakers have had a historically bad shooting start to their first season under new head coach Darvin Ham, though as Smith notes, that is more a product of roster construction than it is the fault of Ham’s in-game strategizing.

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