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Rumor: Russell Westbrook-LeBron James relationship frosty

Russell Westbrook and LeBron James with Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 1: Russel Westbrook #0 and LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers look on during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 1, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook both attended a Lakers’ Summer League game – without showing any signs of interacting:

You can read into that.

Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:

I had been told to watch that dynamic between the two and see how it plays out, that if Russell Westbrook stays on this team, how it’s going to be. And it had been described to me as – I asked, is it a rift? And I was told that’s a little too harsh. But it definitely sounded like it’s frosty.

In explaining his recent split with Westbrook, agent Thad Foucher cited “irreconcilable differences” and said Westbrook’s “best option is to stay with the Lakers, embrace the starting role and support that Darvin Ham publicly offered.” Obvious deduction: Westbrook doesn’t want to stay with the Lakers and embrace the support Ham offered. (There are anonymous people saying the Westbrook-Foucher split has nothing to do with the Lakers and that Westbrook never requested a trade from Los Angeles.)

Regardless of whether Westbrook wants to be traded, the Lakers have pursued dealing him for Kyrie Irving. Given his desire to see Los Angeles trade its draft picks to upgrade its current roster, LeBron is seemingly on board with doing what’s necessary to make that swap.

Which is probably the root of the frostiness between Westbrook and LeBron.

LeBron has major say in how the Lakers operate. When that meant pushing them to acquire Westbrook, the two looked harmonious.

Now, it’s a different story.