The Los Angeles Lakers were rumored to be shopping for a Russell Westbrook trade before the season began. After watching him play in the first half of LA's opening night tilt against the Golden State Warriors, Charles Barkley believes they need to pull the trigger on the best trade available ASAP.
The Hall of Famer was vocal on Westbrook seemingly lacking the “joy” that he used to play the game with in what should otherwise be an exciting game against the defending champs:
“You know how I feel about Russell Westbrook. I admire him. I respect him. It's time for the Lakers to move him. They have taken all his joy out of life and basketball. It's not about the numbers. This guy used to be so exuberant playing with great energy and great emotion. I think the wear and tear mentally last year, starting this year, playing with Patrick Beverley. He's gutted.”
According to Barkley, Westbrook is being used too much as a scapegoat for some underlying issues about the Lakers as a team with flaws that go beyond the Brodie's polarizing play.
“And the thing is, he's going to get the blame no matter what because the Lakers aren't a championship contender,” Chuck continued in his rant on Russell Westbrook.
“They have taken all his joy out of life in basketball.”
Charles Barkley says it’s time for the Lakers to trade Russell Westbrook.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) October 19, 2022
With the Lakers taking a haymaker to the chin in their Warriors litmus test, the clamor to move on from Russell Westbrook isn't going to get any weaker. Perhaps a parting of ways works out as a win-win for both sides.