The Rockets blessed the Lakers with the gift of schadenfreude Wednesday when it was announced that Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston, and James Harden had to provide a vote of confidence that he was still “locked in” for the season.
To commemorate the day’s hilarity, Anthony Irwin and Sabreena Merchant spent a full episode of “I Love Basketball” laughing at the Rockets, and how the Lakers not only knocked them out of the playoffs, but crushed their spirits into oblivion. Well, kind of.
They also talked about how Westbrook’s trade request may or may not augur more movement around the NBA during this crazy upcoming period of player movement, whether this offseason will be feature more changes than most, and how the financial ramifications of playing in a pandemic will affect the decision-making of front offices around the league.
The collapse of the Westbrook-Harden relationship in Houston also leads Anthony and Sabreena to discuss the partnership between stars and team owners, and the responsibilities each party has to one another. They go through why the Lakers have succeeded — not just now, but historically — at empowering their stars and still holding them accountable, while the Rockets failed at this aspect of team-building. This leads into a specific discussion about the how LeBron James and James Harden differ as leaders, and how their priorities manifest themselves in the decisions they make on and off the court.
They end the show by each making one prediction (or wish) about what the Lakers will do during free agency.