LOS ANGELES (AP) — If Paul George has his way, Russell Westbrook would end up as the point guard the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t get at the trade deadline.
The Los Angeles Lakers sent Westbrook to Utah as part of a three-way deal earlier this week. There’s been talk the Jazz would buy out his contract, but it’s also possible he could stay with them for the rest of the season.
George wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Clippers jersey.
“I’ve talked to him just to kind of see where his head is and to see if there is anything I can do,” George said Friday night after the Clippers lost to Milwaukee with Kawhi Leonard on the bench.
George and Westbrook were former running mates in Oklahoma City, and George believes the nine-time All-Star still has plenty left at age 34 despite his rocky tenure with the Lakers.
“I’m a big believer and a fan of what Russ’ work is, having one of my best seasons in my career alongside of him. I’ve seen what he can do night in and night out,” George said. “I really think he can improve the team. He’s such a big talent. He rebounds, he finds guys, he makes the game easy for everyone. I think he will come in, he will mesh and he’ll figure out how we play and he’ll adjust to it.”
George said the Clippers can still make a postseason run without a point guard, but having Westbrook in the traditional role of starting the offense would make things easier. John Wall didn’t work out and the team sent him back to Houston this week.
“We have enough shooting to surround Russ where Russ can be Russ. I think the floor would be open for him, spacing would be there for him,” George said. “I know that’s my game, spacing the floor, being a shooter on the perimeter and then just running with him in transition. I think that’s where we can complement him.”
Westbrook, the 2017 NBA MVP, never meshed with LeBron James and oft-injured Anthony Davis on the Lakers. He averaged 17.4 points, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 turnovers during his 130-game tenure. Westbrook, who played at UCLA, was frequently mentioned in trade talk.
“If it makes sense and obviously it goes with our team, we’re all for it,” George said. “Hopefully, Russell sees this and we figure something out.”