KEY POINTS

  • Russell Westbrook cannot afford to slack off this coming NBA season with the Lakers
  • Westbrook could opt to leave the Lakers if a buyout is arranged by his new manager
  • The Lakers's new head coach can still bench Westbrook if he fails to fit in

Los Angeles -- In the eyes of most, Russell Westbrook’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers is on borrowed time.

A lot of this has to do with his performance during the 2021-22 season, where the 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player had a dismal performance.

Known to be a triple-double threat, Westbrook appeared to struggle behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

However, a point of contention is that even with one or both stars forced to sit out games, Westbrook was unable to step up when the Lakers needed him.

The nine-time All-Star’s inability to lift the Lakers drew criticism. There were games where he was benched by former head coach Frank Vogel.

Taking everything as a whole, it seemed that Vogel was not the right coach to bring out the best in Westbrook.

Darvin Ham, the new head coach of the franchise, could use the 33-year-old differently.

But it cannot be discounted that Westbrook could misfire in some of the Lakers games for the 2022-23 season.

With that being said, Ham could also bench Westbrook if he has reason to do so.

If this happens, expect some conflict to arise. In the end, this may result in the removal of Westbrook from the starting lineup, the Athletic reported.

From there, it would not be surprising if the issues pile up. This includes seeing Westbrook in the headlines again and being linked to other teams with potential NBA trades in the air.

Just recently, Westbrook changed player agents as he will now be handled by Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management.

Schwartz is no stranger to securing buyouts, a move that could see Westbrook exiting the Lakers at some point.

So unless Westbrook comes up with a more credible performance this 2022-23 NBA season, an imminent split is over the horizon.

The only question is when it will take place.

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers in action during the first half of a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 31, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
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