Russell Westbrook’s first-year run with the Los Angeles Lakers last season was mired by underperformance and disappointment.
As bad as his play consistently was, the thing that really soured fans in L.A. on the former league MVP was his attitude.
And through it all, he seemed to maintain the same delusional stubbornness that has resulted in him being on four teams in four years.
This past week, a new red flag reared its ugly head when Westbrook fired his longtime agent, Thad Foucher. The pair had been together for 14 years, so understandably the Lakers were a bit alarmed by the development.
“The dynamic between the Lakers and Russell Westbrook is becoming more untenable with each passing week as the two sides seemingly head for an inevitable divorce,” wrote Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
“The most recent development was Westbrook splitting with his longtime agent, Thad Foucher, who had represented him since he entered the NBA in 2008. Over that period, they were considered one of the stronger player-agent relationships in the league.”
Foucher’s statement on his split with Westbrook was telling.
“Now, with a possibility of a fourth trade in four years, the marketplace is telling the Lakers they must add additional value with Russell in any trade scenario,” he said. “And even then, such a trade may require Russell to immediately move on from the new team via buyout.
“My belief is that this type of transaction only serves to diminish Russell’s value and his best option is to stay with the Lakers, embrace the starting role and support that Darvin Ham publicly offered. Russell is a first-ballot Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame player and will prove that again before he is retired.”
According to Buha, the Lakers were stunned by all this.
“This is an unprecedented level of tea-spilling from an agent in real-time. It clearly speaks to a troubling dynamic behind the scenes, as the partnership evidently soured to the point that Foucher felt the need to get ahead of the report and publicly defend himself,” he wrote. “According to league sources, the split caught several people around the Lakers off guard.”
The Lakers are desperately trying to unload Westbrook. And the chances are good that they will ultimately be successful. As noted by ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, a trade is on the horizon.
What a weekend for DeMar DeRozan.https://t.co/l9BT5ElGRW
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 19, 2022
In any case, though – it feels like Westbrook isn’t long for L.A. Insiders can leak all the phone calls between Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis they want. It’s very apparent that the situation, as it presently stands, is untenable.
One way or another Westbrook will not finish next season as a member of the Lakers.
How will it all go down? Time will tell.