Darvin Ham will have the power to bench Russell Westbrook if he stays with the Lakers, according to reports

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One of the many, many factors of competition between Russell Westbrook and Frank Vogel was Westbrook’s utilization late in video games. On a couple of events, Vogel benched Westbrook for crunch time pondering different gamers had earned the proper to shut for the Lakers. Westbrook did not like that. “I earned the proper to be in closing lineups,” he instructed reporters after one such incident. Vogel misplaced his job. The solely purpose Westbrook continues to be on the workforce is that no one else needs him.

It due to this fact should not shock anybody that Vogel’s substitute, Darvin Ham, has been empowered to use Westbrook as he sees match. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Ham “will have extra power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of video games,” and that power “may ultimately prolong to eradicating Westbrook from the beginning lineup.” Reports final season indicated that Vogel may have taken that step, however that he feared doing so would threat dropping Westbrook’s dedication solely.

All indicators level to each Westbrook and the Lakers in search of a break up. The Lakers have brazenly shopped him in trades, most notably for Kyrie Irving. Westbrook break up with his longtime agent, Thad Foucher, due to irreconcilable variations. Foucher stated in an announcement afterwards that he believed Westbrook ought to settle for Ham’s provide to purchase into a brand new position as a extra defensive-oriented starter. That means that Westbrook would slightly proceed to play his typical fashion on one other workforce. To this level, it’s not clear if any workforce could be desirous about giving him such management.

Strategically talking, there’s a compelling argument in favor of benching Westbrook from the get-go. The Lakers have constructed a roster virtually solely devoid of capturing. There will not be a career-38 p.c 3-point shooter to be discovered on this workforce. Kendrick Nunn isn’t any marksman, however he’s at the very least a good sufficient shooter to draw defenders away from LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook will not be. If that is not evident at the moment, it will be early in the season.

That assumes that Westbrook continues to be on the workforce. For now, the Lakers are in a holding sample. Until the Kevin Durant state of affairs is resolved in Brooklyn, there may be nothing they will do to pressure an Irving commerce. Once the mud settles on the Nets, we’ll have a clearer thought of ​​what the Lakers will appear like. But even if Westbrook is again, it is wanting like he’ll have to earn his position on subsequent season’s roster.

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