Westbrook Interview With Woj: “ Whether I'm wanted or not doesn't really matter”

That awkward day we've all been expecting has arrived. The day that Russell Westbrook joins his Los Angeles Lakers teammates as training camp opens. After a summer of not-too-veiled attempts to trade him, and bringing in other point guards, the Lakers have resigned themselves to having Russ around, at least to start the season.

In a pre-camp sit-down with Adrian Wojnarowski, Westbrook was asked whether he feels "wanted" by the Lakers.

I don't need to. I need to just do my job. Whether I'm wanted or not doesn't really matter. I think the most important thing is that I show up for work and I do the job like I've always done it: Be professional and go out and play my ass off and compete.

The 33-year-old former 9-time All-Star, who had a disastrous first year in LA last season, says regardless of whether he's a starter or not, he's giving it his all with the Lakers this season.

"I'm all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win," Westbrook said. "I'm prepared for whatever comes my way.

"Yes, there were times last season that I wanted to play better — that I should've played better — but my confidence never wavers. Having bad games is part of the NBA, I understand that.

"The only thing it affected for me was the impact that it had on the people closest to me -- my mom, dad, wife, brother, close friends. We've never had to deal with that as a family. That was the most difficult thing -- being booed in the arena and having my kids there."

Westbrook came home to Los Angeles last season with a lot of expectations, but he had one of the worst years of his career, and was seen as the main culprit in the Lakers' fall from grace (and out of the playoffs). 

In the offseason, the Lakers went out and traded for Patrick Beverley, and brought back Dennis Schröder as a free agent, presumably pushing Westbrook down the depth chart in the backcourt.

Should be an interesting start to the season in Hollywood. 

Photos: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports, Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports