Report: Russell Westbrook ‘bothered’ by being labeled as bad teammate
Russell Westbrook is said to be offended by the narrative that he’s a bad teammate in the wake of a blockbuster trade to the Washington Wizards.
The 2017 NBA MVP and nine-time All-Star seemingly was perceptively dragged by former Rockets teammate James Harden amid the deal through which Houston flipped him for John Wall and a lottery-protected 2023 first-round NBA draft pick.
According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who weighed in on the monumental trade of superstars during Thursday’s edition of “Get Up,” Harden is believed to have “had a preference of John Wall over Russell Westbrook.”
Further addressing the Westbrook-Wall exchange, Woj alluded to how Westbrook is “bothered” by the perception that Harden’s preference for Wall may suggest he isn’t the best teammate.
“[Russell Westbrook] has been very bothered, I’m told, by the suggestion of the kind of teammate he is. … I think going to Washington, I think that’s extra motivation for him to really try to make it work with Bradley Beal.”— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) December 3, 2020
When Westbrook joined Harden in Houston when the Rockets flipped him for Chris Paul in a July 2019 trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, there was no shortage of skepticism about how the two ball-dominant players would mesh.
The notion wasn’t completely unfounded, as the Rockets failed to improve this season upon its ongoing playoff ineptitude despite Harden and Westbrook joining forces.
Further, there was speculation throughout this past season that the two superstars failed to establish a solid rapport beyond their arguable on-court mismatch. That said, the rumored disconnect was seemingly refuted to some extent in recent weeks amid all the trade demand drama.
As things stand, the acquisition of Wall appears to be an effort by the Rockets to appease Harden, who is said to desire a trade to the Brooklyn Nets above any other option, including remaining in Houston.
The Rockets, however, appear committed to keeping Harden in the fold for the 2020-21 season and beyond, while Westbrook is evidently eager to change the “bad teammate” narrative saddling him in D.C.