The Lakers tipped off their season in the Bay Area as they watched the Golden State Warriors receive their championship rings. After a summer of speculation that the former MVP could be traded, Westbrook was in the starting lineup at the Chase Center.
MORE: Live updates, stats from Warriors’ opening night win over LakersDespite putting up a solid first half of 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, six rebounds, three assists and one steal, Barkley believes Westbrook should be traded sooner rather than later, saying the Lakers “have taken all his joy out of life and basketball.”
“It’s time for the Lakers to move on… They have taken all his joy out of life and basketball.”
Chuck goes off on Russell Westbrook with the Lakers pic.twitter.com/ktevt7J0ns— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 19, 2022
“This guy used to be so exuberant, played with great energy and great emotion,” Barkley said on TNT’s halftime show.
“I think the wear and tear mentally, last year, starting this year, playing with Patrick Beverley, and the thing is, he’s gonna get the blame no matter what.”
Westbrook’s struggles in his first season with the Lakers were well documented, prompting speculation they could part ways with him in the offseason, however, the Lakers are reluctant to make a deal that would send future assets to a new team.
One game into the season is somewhat of an overreaction, with Shaquille O’Neal countering that he needs to see 15-20 games of Westbrook with this version of the Lakers before any talk of a trade. But Barkley just wants to see Westbrook in a good situation to get him back to his best.
“They are taking his entire joy out of basketball,” Barkley said. “And it pisses me off.”
Westbrook finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal in 31 minutes as the Lakers went down 123-109 to the Warriors.