Russell Westbrook was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. He took the time to thank Washington Wizards fans for their support during a pandemic season, which encompassed Russ’s brief time in the District of Columbia. 

Russell Westbrook sent the following message to Wizards fans:

Russell Westbrook had been a longtime member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, a pillar of the organization who stayed behind after James Harden and Kevin Durant went to other teams.

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In recent years, however, Russell Westbrook has had to pack a suitcase a lot more often, hopping from OKC to the Houston Rockets to the Wizards. Now he is on the move to Los Angeles, where he played college ball at UCLA and competed in the Final Four.

Russell Westbrook had a real chance to win the NBA title with Durant in 2016 in Oklahoma City. That was the last year in which he had every expectation to claim the brass ring. Subsequent seasons haven’t been filled with the same amount of promise and potential, but now Russ is going to the Lakers to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Many NBA analysts will reasonably question the fit, but Russell Westbrook — knowing he can win an elusive NBA championship — will be motivated to modify his game in ways which fit the Lakers. Giving up a piece of his own identity and a measure of his personal preferences in exchange for a Larry O’Brien Trophy is a tradeoff Russ is likely to make.

We will see if Russell Westbrook is ready for this new and exciting chapter of a distinguished NBA career. Russ has been there and done that… except for lifting a championship trophy. This lends an undeniably poignant quality to this venture with the Lakers, much as Russ’s note to Wizards fans was also a poignant moment.