The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook this past offseason with one goal in mind: him carrying the team in the regular season when LeBron James and Anthony Davis could not.
Everyone understood that Westbrook would probably be an awkward fit alongside James and Davis, but so long as he could play when they were hurt or resting – the sacrifice was considered worthwhile.
On Monday night, the Lakers took on the San Antonio Spurs without James and Davis. Yet again, Westbrook failed to deliver on the one thing he was brought to LA for.
Not only did the Lakers lose 117-110 to a squad that somehow has been even worse than them this year, but Westbrook was awful in defeat. He finished with 17 points on 5-of-14 shooting, including 1-of-6 in the fourth quarter. And he wasn’t just bad at scoring the ball. He also managed to turn it over a bunch – recording five total on the night.
Who could have seen Westbrook’s struggles coming? The Lakers coaching staff, it would appear.
According to Sam Amick and Bill Oram of The Athletic, the team’s coaches badly wanted to see Westbrook moved at the NBA Trade Deadline.
“Sources say the coaching staff made an unsuccessful push for Westbrook to be traded before the Feb. 10 deadline, when the Lakers passed on Houston’s John Wall, in part, because of the draft considerations that it would have required to make the deal,” they reported.
“There were also significant concerns about the fact that Wall hadn’t played all season and, thus, didn’t instill confidence in his ability to help the Lakers turn their season around.
“Yet now, it appears, the friction between Westbrook and the coaching staff has only grown worse. Sources confirmed the recent rising of tensions between Westbrook and the coaching staff, which were first reported by Marc Stein.”
Things have gotten so bad that Westbrook’s wife is now openly picking fight with troll sports broadcasters over just how awful her husband is.
Worse yet, it’s hard to see what the solution to this problem is. Based on the reason why the Lakers are refusing to permanently bench Westbrook at this juncture, it’s clear that the team feels like its hands are tied. And if that’s the case, then all hope for any sort of recovery is officially dead in the water.
The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/1uY8SZ5kVu
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 7, 2022
Westbrook is a giant anchor that is hanging around the Lakers’ neck, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Will this once-proud franchise somehow be able to free itself? Time will tell.