Rockets’ Russell Westbrook says his only friend on the court is named Spalding
Former NBA MVP point guard Russell Westbrook arrived on the scene for the Houston Rockets on Friday for the team’s annual media day. With questions swirling about how Westbrook will mesh with his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate James Harden, the 30-year-old floor general dryly revealed who his “only” friend on the hardwood is:
Russell Westbrook says he only has one friend on the court. The name is Spalding. If that’s not your name, he can’t help you. #Rockets
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) September 27, 2019
Perhaps the eight-time All-Star meant that as a joke, but some people will certainly take it more seriously than Westbrook intended considering his past criticisms of selfish behavior on the court.
While there are plenty of fair critiques of Westbrook’s play style on the Thunder after Kevin Durant’s departure for the Golden State Warriors, the UCLA product has been the main reason OKC remained semi-competitive in the post-Durant era.
With the Thunder making early playoff round exits under Westbrook — three consecutive first-round losses — general manager Sam Presti decided to blow up the team and rebuild. That meant sending All-Star wing Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with Kawhi Leonard and sending the two-time All-Star Game MVP Westbrook to reunite with Harden in Houston.
Under Coach Mike D’Antoni, however, Harden has been the star of the show for the Rockets. While Westbrook can claim only being friends with “Spalding,” he’ll need to learn to ingratiate himself with Harden and the rest of Houston.