LOS ANGELES – Paul George let it be known very clearly that he wants Russell Westbrook in a Los Angeles Clippers uniform after Friday night’s loss against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Speaking with members of the media, George publicly recruited his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate, believing he can help.
“I mean if there’s somebody out there — Russell [Westbrook] — if it makes sense and, obviously it goes with our team, we’re all for it,” Paul George said when asked about not having a traditional point guard on he roster. “We need a point guard. But in the same, I think we’re good as well. If nothing happened, I think we got enough in this locker room to be able to make it work but it would definitely improve our team if we had that traditional point guard to kind of get us in things and make the game easy. So hopefully Russell sees this and, we figure something out.”
“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 Clippers made a couple of trade deadline deals near the buzzer, trading away Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, and John Wall in exchange for Mason Plumlee, Eric Gordon, and Bones Hyland. The move sent away two of the Clippers rotational point guards and brought in none. Hyland is more of a point guard, but is only on his second season and still has some growing to do.
That means the Clippers will continue to run out Terance Mann as the starting point guard while mixing and matching their backup, whether it be Norman Powell, Eric Gordon, or Bones Hyland.
The lack of a traditional point guard and his prior experiences with Russell Westbrook are exactly why Paul George believes Westbrook will fit right into what the Clippers want do.
“I just think, we, in particular, we got enough shooting to surround Russ where Russ can be Russ,” George continued. “I think the floor will be open for him, spacing will be there for him. I’m a big believer in and fan of what Russ’s work is, you know, having one of my best seasons in my career alongside of him. I’ve seen what he can do, night in, night out and I think he’s still got a lot of game there.
“I’m biased, you know, when it comes to Russ and I really think he can improve the team. He’s such a big talent. He rebounds, he finds guys, he makes the game easy for everyone and, I mean, I think he’ll come and he’ll mesh. I think he’ll come and he’ll mesh and, and he’ll figure out how we play and he’ll adjust to it.”
Earlier this week, ClutchPoints reported that several Clippers players were ‘open’ to the idea of adding Russell Westbrook should he reach a buyout with the Utah Jazz. There’s a belief among players that Westbrook was misused with the Los Angeles Lakers and would be a significantly better fit alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, per sources.
On Friday, George became the first player to publicly support the addition of Westbrook,
“I mean, just no knock on the Lakers and his fit there. Obviously LeBron can shoot the shit out of it. There’s guys that obviously can shoot with the Lakers as well, but I think we’re a little younger. We can run with him and that’s kind of our game is spacing the floor. I know that’s my game, spacing the floor for being a shooter on the perimeter and then just running with him in transition — I think that’s what we can compliment him [with]. We got a bunch of guys that fit that play style as well for myself, Kawhi, Norm, T Mann and quite honestly we need somebody — you know, it sucked that John [Wall] didn’t work but what John brought is what we need: A guy that can get up and down the floor and, and get us some easy baskets in transition.”
After hearing George’s public statements, Marcus Morris chipped in with his own backing.
“Did he?” Morris replied to members of the media about George’s comments. “Did he say it personally? Oh, I’m campaigning too for him then. As long as PG did it. I ain’t want to say it first, but for as long as I know PG did, so yeah, I like Russ too.
“He’s a basketball player, man… He hasn’t had an opportunity to play on a team where he could be himself and be able to play freely. Obviously, playing with the Lakers, it’s like media, media, media. And from the outside looking in, like every time something bad went wrong – Russell Westbrook. And it’s just that. Nobody else was really getting no blame. And it just kept spiraling down. But we accept him with open arms, man, let him be himself. We need the personality, we need the veteran. He’s been in the playoffs a lot of times, been to the championship. I want him to come. I think that you can’t kill a wounded dog. You give him an opportunity to come back, it could be dangerous.”
It’s important to note through all of these comments that as of Friday night, Russell Westbrook is still a member of the Utah Jazz. He was traded from the Lakers to the Jazz a day before the trade deadline, and still hasn’t decided on whether he’ll negotiate a buyout or try to play in Salt Lake City.
The deadline to be waived and hit the buyout market is March 1st. Players can sign anytime from now until the end of the season, which gives the Clippers a chance to watch what happens with the Westbrook situation.
The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat have reportedly joined the LA Clippers as teams interested in Russell Westbrook, according to multiple reports.