A day after trading for combo guards Eric Gordon and Bones Hyland rather than adding a true point guard ahead of the NBA trade deadline Feb. 9, LA Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank described the kind of point guard the team wanted to complement Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
"If there was a point guard who could be in our top eight or nine [players on the roster], we looked at those guys," Frank said Feb. 10.
"Invariably, what's important is, whether they're a point guard or not, we need someone that won't be played off the floor defensively, someone who can share the ball responsibilities, but not yet be so ball dominant. You know the ball is going to be in Kawhi and PG's hands about 60 percent of the time, so it's a delicate balance."
After the Clippers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks later that evening, George was asked if his team needed to fill its open roster spot with a point guard. "Yeah, I mean if there's, you know, somebody out there," said the star guard, who had recently been asked to take on more ballhandling and playmaking duties.
George paused before offering his suggestion.
"Russell [Westbrook]," he said of his former teammate with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Ten days later, Westbrook completed a buyout with the Utah Jazz and planned to sign with the Clippers, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi, to help them pursue a championship.