Russell Westbrook is in Washington now, paired up with Bradley Beal in the backcourt and with his old coach Scott Brooks.
Westbrook does not wish to revisit the past, so when Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press asked him about his trade request out of Houston, Westbrook dodged it and focused on the future.
“I’m here in Washington,” Westbrook replied. “Happy about where I’m at and understanding that this is a new journey for me and understanding how important it is to focus on where I’m at, focus on the team, focus on the organization, the community, the people here.”
That’s the only good answer Westbrook could give.
He wanted out of Houston, but there was no real trade market for him, so Houston and Washington swapped problem contracts of older players who requested a trade with John Wall heading to Houston.
In Washington, Westbrook is on a team with playoff dreams but not much margin for error. They need the nine-time All-Star who averaged 27 points a game last season to elevate this team to a playoff level. It’s also a young team, with 13 players having three years experience or less in the league. Westbrook brings energy and a relentless work ethic and attitude on the court, something the Wizards hope rubs off on those younger players.
The Wizards are paying a lot for what Westbrook brings, $133 million over three years (assuming he picks up his $47 million player option the final year), but they were going to be paying that much to Wall anyway. Washington thought it would be better off with what Westbrook brings.
“I’m all about trying to do things the right way, regardless of if anybody likes it or not,” Westbrook said. “My thing is making sure that I’m doing the right thing for the right people and impacting as many people as possible.”
That’s the attitude the Wizards hope Westbrook imparts to the rest of the team.