Wizards owner takes shot at Russell Westbrook, highlights difference between NBA and NHL players

Justin Benjamin
2 Min Read

The Washington Wizards recently shipped star Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster trade.

Wizards and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis threw some shade at Westbrook while comparing him to NHL star Alex Ovechkin.

“We had a superstar player with the Wizards, he had an opportunity and wanted to be traded to the Lakers,” Leonsis told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “And I was dealing with that as we were announcing Alex. I couldn’t help but self-reflect on what a difference it is. Here’s a great player in Russell Westbrook, played in OKC, wanted to be traded, went to Houston, wanted to be traded, came to D.C., wanted to be traded and is now in L.A. He’s an unbelievably great person and an unbelievably great player. But that’s the difference between the NBA and the NHL, I suppose.”

The Lakers dealt Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft for Westbrook and two future second-round picks.

Of course, the Lakers world was ecastatic about the addition of the 2017 MVP. The guard averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game last season.

Yet, Westbrook has had a tough time finding a home over the last few years. He’s played on three different teams — the Wizards, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder — in the last three seasons. The Lakers will be the veteran’s fourth squad.

Still, Westbrook is famously beloved in Oklahoma City. The two-time scoring champ loyally and wholeheartedly competed for the Thunder for the first 11 years of his career before the franchise sent him to Houston in 2019.

The Wizards fell in the first round of the 2021 postseason to the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Justin’s enormous respect for LeBron James has ignited him to write for the King and Lakers. His all-around analysis and heart for the game has made him a stellar NBA writer and proud staff writer for Lakers Daily.