With tensions reportedly rising behind the scenes between Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Lakers, the two sides feel destined to part ways once the 2021-22 season is over.
Westbrook has not been able to perform to the level that the Lakers hoped for when trading for him, and the constant criticism from the fans has made the situation untenable. The guard has done his best to remain positive and be a leader for the team, but that has not translated into much on-court success.
Despite his rollercoaster play, head coach Frank Vogel stood up for Westbrook and noted that changing teams has its challenges. “He’s one of the best players ever to play. He has had his struggles this year there’s no doubt about that, but he had his struggles last year in Washington, too. Coming into a new environment, and he finished really strong.
Vogel also seemed confident that Westbrook will eventually find his way with the Lakers down the stretch. “I do maintain that type of belief that he has that type of finish in him and the best outcome for us is for him to reach that level with our team. I believe that’s the best outcome for us of all the ways we can go about this.
“We’re going to get that Russell Westbrook to finish strong with us, and hopefully, if he starts playing to that level and AD comes back, we look differently than we have the entire season.”
No one can accuse Vogel of throwing in the towel considering how poorly the season has gone, and he may have had a point as Russell Westbrook had a strong performance in their loss to the Houston Rockets. Westbrook heating up in these final 18 games would be a welcomed development, but the rest of the Lakers also need to pick it up.
Frank Vogel believes Lakers can catch fire
In a season where nearly everything has gone wrong, it feels like the Lakers are just biding their time until they are bounced from the playoffs. However, Vogel maintains that his group can persevere and even said that they still have a chance to make some sort of run.
“Again, the mindset with our group has always been through these struggles can we be the team that catches fire down the stretch. If you look at those pieces, that possibility is real. So we have to push through it.”
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