Right after Russell Westbrook was acquired by the Lakers, he has been spotted with LeBron James working out and watching Summer League games together. Skip Bayless explains why he believes LBJ’s plan of developing a personal connection with The Brodie might not work.
It is safe to say that, the Los Angeles Lakers had a rather disappointing year last season. Behind the leadership of an All-Star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers were one of the deadliest rosters on paper. The 2020 NBA champions started their 2020-2021 campaign as strong favourites to defend their title but ended their season by getting knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by a Chris Paul-led Phoenix Suns team.
As expected, several changes were made by the LAL front office. Apart from adding players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn, the team also managed to add 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook to the squad. And as soon as the move was finalised the Lakers were instantly deemed as the strong favourites to win the 2022 Championship.
“I love LeBron James’ strategy of trying to develop a deeper relationship with Russell Westbrook, but it won’t work”: Skip Bayless
Just a few days after joining the Lakers, The Brodie was seen working out and watching Summer League games together with King James himself. And according to Skip Bayless, it is a great “early strategy” by Bron which wouldn’t end up working. During an episode of “UNDISPUTED”, Skip said:
“This is a brilliant early strategy by LeBron James. I commend him for this. I compliment him to the highest degree because this is exactly what he needs to be doing with Russell Westbrook. He needs to be ingratiating him (Westbrook) to LeBron’s inner circle because LeBron is a good guy, he is fun to be around. And he is obviously an all-time great player and Russ has that respect for him right now. But he needs it to go into love, you know, where they develop a deeper, personal connection. Because that’s the only way you’re gonna survive with this guy.”
“I’m here to tell you that, LeBron, it’ll not work. But it’s a great try and I love this early strategy because you invite him to Las Vegas… you don’t take AD, because that would be the trio, that’d be the three of you and sometimes those triangle relations don’t work. But this is just Russ and LeBron with Phil Handy, who’s their assistant coach, he’s gonna run their personal workout. And then you take Russ, just the two of you to the Summer League game so you can make a grand entrance and sit in the front. That’s a big deal. And then you post it.”
“It’s cool to Russ. He’s showing him love and respect like “we’re together”. Because you need this guy to be not only your team but sort of under your spell, where he is so respectful of LeBron that he will pay the prices and the sacrifices that you need to win with LeBron and Anthony Davis.”
“I love the strategy. It’s a very smart thing. Of course, he used the sarcastic line – “I agree. I don’t think this will work”… That’s LeBron telling Russ “No we are gonna show ’em. It will work.” Because it wouldn’t work with Kevin Durant, it didn’t work with James Harden and it never quite worked with Paul George.”
“You don’t think LeBron is saying “watch this”. It’s part of the potential successful story of next year is “I’m gonna show you I can win with a guy, nobody else wants to win with and couldn’t win with.”
Inviting Russ to Vegas and not taking AD is a brilliant early strategy by LeBron James. I commend him. Developing a deeper personal connection is the only way you have a shot at surviving Russ. More @Undisputed, now on FS1 https://t.co/zmdZDGN49L
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 16, 2021