Former Laker Devean George isn’t ready to bail on the Russell Westbrook experiment in L.A. — telling TMZ Sports they should stick with the point guard amid rumors he could get shipped out of town.
We spoke with George — who won three titles with Shaq and Kobe Bryant from 2000-02 — at LAX this week … and he said the Lakers shouldn’t entertain the idea of trading away Russ, whose name has been at the heart of trade rumors all offseason.
“I think it can work,” George said. “I’m a fan of Russell. Maybe I’m caught up in what he’s done in the past.”
George admitted that Westbrook does need to adjust his style of play … but ultimately, he says the ex-MVP, along with his teammates, need to play their respective roles on the team.
“Too much talent,” George said. “I think that’s the main thing. Everybody just do their role and cut back and not say what I used to do. I’m just a fan of Russ, so I’m a little biased.”
Westbrook’s name was rumored to be on the move during the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes, and most recently, the triple-double king reportedly was the centerpiece of a deal involving Pacers stars Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.
The Lakers missed the playoffs last season — finishing with a 33-49 record, 11th worst in the Western Conference, but George is predicting a return to the playoffs with the trio of Russ, LeBron James, and (a healthy) Anthony Davis leading the way.
“I think they can get into being a dangerous team come playoff time,” the three-time NBA champ said. “Once playoff time comes, I think they’ll be able to make some noise.”
George sees the Lakers finishing this season anywhere between the fifth and eighth seed, but he says the Lake Show could finish as high as fourth — if AD can stay on the court.