Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Friday that the Lakers are seriously considering the idea of bringing former MVP guard Russell Westbrook off the bench next season. Amick adds that new coach Darvin Ham has the full backing of the organization to make any difficult lineup decisions necessary.
The Lakers suddenly have a full cast of characters to work within their backcourt. They recently acquired Patrick Beverley in a trade with the Utah Jazz and agreed to terms on Friday on a reunion with this notable ex-Laker. Austin Reaves and new signing Lonnie Walker IV are also around to siphon off minutes at the 2, further clogging a potential pathway for Westbrook to retain his starting job.
The nine-time All-Star Westbrook has started in 1,004 of his 1,021 career regular season appearances and has not come off the bench since his rookie year in 2008-09. Additionally, he is a notoriously headstrong player who threw a fit last year when benched only very occasionally in crunch time.
But no other team wants Westbrook at this point, which all but eliminates both the trade and the buyout options for him to potentially get out of LA. Westbrook may have no choice but to swallow his pride and become a sixth man, especially with what we know about Ham’s vision for the team.