The Los Angeles Lakers went out and got themselves a new coach this offseason, but that coach seems to unfortunately be stuck with one of the team’s old problems.
Last year, Frank Vogel benched Russell Westbrook on multiple occasions at the end of games due to Westbrooks play and fit with his teammates. Now it seems Darvin Ham will have the ability to do the same thing.
According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Ham will have the ability to bench Westbrook at the end of games and remove him from their starting lineup.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham will have more power to bench Russell Westbrook down the stretch of games, sources tell @jovanbuha.
Former head coach Frank Vogel did so a few times last season.
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) August 3, 2022
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham will have more power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of games, according to league sources. (Former head coach Frank Vogel did so a few times last season). That could eventually extend to removing Westbrook from the starting lineup as well.
The fact that the Lakers had to give their head coach permission to bench a player who is set to make more than $40 million next year or remove him from their starting lineup.
It’s clear that regardless of any commitment the teams’ stars claim to have made for next season, the team is still not built to be an actual contender if they can’t depend on their starting point guard to finish games or even remain in the starting lineup.
His fit alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James hasn’t gotten any better since the end of the Lakers’ disastrous 2021-22 season.
The Lakers have to be desperately hoping that they can finally convince the Nets to swap Kyrie Irving for Westbrook or the Pacers to send Buddy Hield and Myles Turner over before the end of the offseason or the team could be headed for another long year.
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