$1.5 Billion NBA Team Has Pinching Words for LeBron James and Russell Westbrook on the Possible End of an Era at Lakers

Published 07/15/2022, 7:30 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook not sitting with each other prompted a lot of mockery from fans and other teams. Both of them became the faces of a Los Angeles Lakers franchise that went down dismally during the last season. Hence, it was arguably easy for the New Orleans Pelicans to make fun of them.

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Both franchises have a bit of history too. Anthony Davis was an important part of the Pelicans team but he left them to join the Lakers. Therefore, it was extra sweet for them to rub it in. On top of that, the Pelicans also had a much better season than the Lakers.

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New Orleans wrote, “yes our players enjoy sitting next to each other rather than on opposite ends of the court”. This cut deep for the Lakers as the franchise looks to trade the point guard. Russell Westbrook has been criticized endlessly for his performances last season. LeBron James also had to face the heat for bringing him in.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans had a great season. They missed Zion Williamson but got a play-off spot over a much better Lakers team. New Orleans beat them twice over five days in March and April. Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Jose Alvarado became bonafide stars for the franchise. Williamson’s inclusion next season will likely make the team more robust and dangerous.

LeBron James and the Lakers took Anthony Davis from New Orleans

Anthony Davis was drafted as the first overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets. Anthony Davis scored 23.7 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game and had a field goal percentage of 51.7%. He became one of the top 5 players in the NBA from 2015 to 2018 for the Pelicans.

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He was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019. He made his trade request public at the start of the year. The NBA fined him $50,000 for this violation. The team couldn’t find a team in the February trade deadline but found one next season. And the opportunity to play with LeBron James was too tempting.

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The Lakers had a great 2019-20 season with him. His three-point shooting also became sharp as he scored 38.3% from beyond the arc during the playoffs. He and LeBron led the team to an NBA title that season. Since then, however, it has been a freefall. Davis’ injuries caught up to him and he has been missing most of his games for the last two seasons.

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Hence, for the Pelicans, the rivalry with the Lakers is extra deep. The future for New Orleans seems to look bright while the Lakers will likely have a hard road to climb with their team.

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Written by:

Aditya Kar

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Aditya Kar is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. A holder of Bachelors and Masters degrees in History, he has been a fan of the NBA since 2011. He has a very keen interest in the stories that define the league and the sport.
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Edited by:

Veer Badani

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