Westbrook’s decision arguably marks the biggest move in the buyout market thus far, and his brother took to social media to celebrate the news.
Let’s get it!!!! @Yg_Trece
— ray westbrook (@whynotraywest) February 20, 2023
The user mentioned in the tweet is none other than Clippers superstar Paul George. It’s no secret that George wanted Westbrook to sign with the Clippers. In fact, he made it clear that Westbrook would be welcomed with open arms.
“If there is somebody out there — Russell [Westbrook] — if it makes sense and it goes with our team, we’re all for it… Hopefully Russell sees this and we figure something out.”
Paul George on the Clippers adding a traditional point guard pic.twitter.com/vvox3xTTFU
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 11, 2023
The two were teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. George and Westbrook helped lead the Thunder to the playoffs in both seasons, though they failed to advance past the first round both times.
The goal is definitely far greater for the Clippers this season. Back when the franchise acquired both Kawhi Leonard and George in the 2019 offseason, it adopted a championship-or-bust mentality.
The Clippers got close to that goal in 2021, going all the way to the Western Conference Finals. However, they lost that series in six games to the Phoenix Suns.
Now, Westbrook will look to contribute to what the Clippers are surely hoping will be a championship run in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The team is currently the No. 4 seed in the West and just one game back from the Sacramento Kings for the three seed.
As for the Lakers, they sit at the No. 13 seed but are within striking range of both a play-in tournament spot and playoff spot. To earn either spot at the end of the regular season, however, the Lakers are going to have to play some pretty impressive ball down the stretch.
They’re hoping that the moves they made prior to the trade deadline earlier this month will be a major contributing factor in that pursuit. Furthermore, LeBron James figures to be completely locked in.
He recently stated that the remaining 23 games on the schedule are some of the “most important” regular season games of his entire career. He added that he is determined to play in all 23 games despite some shaky health as of late.
Westbrook will face his former team at least once this season in an April 5 matchup at Crypto.com Arena. Whether the two teams face off in the playoffs after that matchup remains to be seen.