15 Aug, 2021
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers did not mount much of a title defence last season, but he is already working with one of their high-profile reinforcements as they prepare to try to regain the crown in 2021-22.
James and the Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Phoenix Suns having defeated the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament.
They rarely looked a threat to defend the Larry O'Brien Trophy, with an injury-hindered season for James not aiding their cause, but the Lakers responded to last season's disappointment by making a number of major additions.
Westbrook's acquisition via a five-team trade was the one that grabbed the headlines, the former MVP arriving after a hugely productive season with the Washington Wizards.
He finished tied with MVP Nikola Jokic for the league lead with 45.5 combined points, assists and rebounds per game.
Westbrook and James are already focused on developing their connection, with LeBron sharing photos of the two working out together on Instagram.
James is entering his 19th season in the NBA and, in addition to a fifth title, will have his sights set on surpassing 36,000 career points and moving closer to Karl Malone, who occupies second on the all-time list.
LeBron has 35,367 to his name, 1,561 shy of two-time MVP Malone on 36,928. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the standings with 38,387.