Russell Westbrook has been one of the most discussed players in the Lakers lineup currently. The point guard failed to make an impact last year, resulting in the Lakers missing out on the playoffs altogether. Thus, the franchise has been looking to trade the nine-time All-Star for quite some time now. However, no team was interested in the unreliable 33-year-old with a whooping $47m player option. Amid all the drama, Westbrook fired his old agent and recently hired a new one to tread through the troubling waters. Russell told ESPN that he had recruited Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports to represent him.
Last month, the 2017 MVP parted ways with his longtime agent Thad Foucher of Wasserman. Foucher stated that irreconcilable differences were the reason behind the end of their partnership. Westbrook’s former agent suggested that he no longer align with Russell if he should stay with the Lakers for the final term of his $47m contract. Hence, Russell has chosen to hire a renowned agent to help him deal with the tricky situation he has found himself in.
Russell Westbrook Might Get Benched For Most Of The 2022-23 Season
Meanwhile, Westbrook is most likely to stay with the Lakers after getting no interest in a potential trade from other teams. The LA front office was in talks with the Nets for a potential Westbrook-Irving deal after Kevin Durant’s exit. However, the discussions have come to a standstill. The Nets want to involve a third team as they are not interested in taking on Westbrook wither. However, things seem to have gotten trickier for the Lakers point guard.
As per NBA expert Jovan Buha, the new head coach Darvin Ham has been backed to bench Westbrook for the next season and could be excluded from the games completely. A league source also suggested that Ham will have more power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of games more like former coach Frank Vogel did last year. Buha added, “That could mean eventually extending to removing Westbrook from the starting lineup as well.”
Lakers bid some big bucks by acquiring Westbrook and creating a Big Three with Anthony Davis and LeBron James. However, the trio played just 21 games and went 11-10. Moreover, Westbrook did not fit in with either Davis or LeBron’s individual presence on the court. He was pretty bad at 29.8% shooting three-pointers, creating a lot of pressure on James. And with Davis ruled out due to injury, things got worse as LeBron was forced to push back on the defensive sides of the court. Thus, Ham showed some trust in Westbrook when he first came to the franchise. But, it is likely that the new coach would consider sidelining Russell for the sake of the team.