The Pelicans—or whoever operates their Twitter account—woke up and chose violence Thursday. Apparently, “thewhistle0” picked the wrong day to tangle, going up for the dunk, only to have it swatted out of bounds. After tweeting a snide remark about the Pels’ profile photo showing Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Naji Marshall and Jose Alvarado together at a recent Summer League game, the team clapped back in decidedly savage fashion, taking out a conference rival in the process.
For context, Lakers teammates LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, once considered close friends (in fact, the team acquired him from Washington at James’ insistence last summer), had no interaction whatsoever during last Friday’s Summer League game in Las Vegas, sitting on opposite ends of the court without so much as a “Hey, how ‘ya doing?” Maybe the internet was grasping at straws, making a mountain out of a molehill as is customary during the summer content lull. But it sure seemed like something was amiss, otherwise, why would two supposed pals attend a game separately without even acknowledging each other?
Whether real or imagined, the LeBron/Westbrook dynamic offers a fascinating window into the Lakers’ dysfunction, missing the playoffs despite a loaded roster of would-be Hall-of-Famers, albeit with most nearing the end of their careers. While James and Westbrook give each other the cold shoulder, the Pelicans, built around a young core led by Williamson (assuming he can stay healthy), Ingram and McCollum, are trending up, looking like a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference.
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