While the 2022 NBA Playoffs rage on, the Los Angeles Lakers are far more focused on the state of their own franchise.
Right now, the primary concern is finding a new head coach after parting ways with former head coach Frank Vogel earlier this year.
Based on a recent report, it appears that the Lakers are heavily interested in how candidates would use Russell Westbrook if he were to remain on the team for next season. That report has led many to believe that the Lakers are starting to come around to the possibility that Westbrook will remain with the team next season.
Beyond that, a more recent rumor indicates that some within the organization believe that with the right coach and role players on the roster, the concerns regarding Westbrook’s fit could be smoothed out.
“And it’s not merely a bluff or tactic to try to regain leverage in trade talks,” Jovan Buha of The Athletic wrote. “That may be an ancillary motive, sure, but per league sources, there is a sentiment among some within the franchise that the right coach and a better supporting cast could smooth over Westbrook’s awkward fit with [LeBron] James and [Anthony] Davis.”
There is no doubt that Westbrook was not the only problem for the Lakers this season. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game in 78 games.
The real killer for the Lakers’ 2021-22 season was more likely Davis’ lack of availability. Due to injuries, the superstar big man played in just 40 games. The Big 3 of Davis, Westbrook and James barely got to play together.
With a new head coach, a healthy Davis and some valuable shooters surrounding the star trio in L.A., a bounce-back season could be in store for the Lakers next year.