EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — With Frank Vogel eliminated as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers earlier within the day, Lakers level guard Russell Westbrook opened up concerning the disconnect that existed between the 2 of them in his first season in L.A.
“I feel it is unlucky, to be sincere, as a result of I’ve by no means had a difficulty with any of my coaches earlier than,” Westbrook mentioned on Monday after his exit interview with the Lakers entrance workplace. “I am undecided what his challenge was with me or I am undecided why, however I can not actually offer you a solution to why we actually by no means related.”
Westbrook, who was the highest-paid participant in the course of the Lakers’ nightmarish 2021-22 season, wasn’t carried out along with his griping with simply the coach, both. He took intention at a number of different features of his Lakers expertise that went awry in his 21-minute information convention, detailing how he felt he was wronged.
“Once I first obtained right here, the power to have the ability to do what I can do for a staff and a company wasn’t given a good probability,” he mentioned.
Westbrook went on responsible false information reviews as a contributing issue to his struggles this previous season.
“The well-known ‘supply’ tales that got here out about myself, whether or not it’s between me and the workers, me and Frank, me and the followers, there’s simply so many made-up tales that aren’t true,” Westbrook mentioned. “It is simply all the time having to battle towards that continually. It is simply not [being] given a good probability. It is like, ‘OK, now I obtained to battle towards this made-up story. Now I obtained to battle towards this one. Now I am going to battle towards this one. Now I obtained to battle towards this one.'”
When requested instantly to call one instance of a fabricated story about his time with the Lakers, he didn’t provide a direct response.
“No,” Westbrook mentioned. “I can not. You realize the examples. I do not wish to get in particulars, what story, who wrote it, why … it is pointless. It actually does not matter as a result of it isn’t true. If it does not come from me [it is not true].”
The 2017 league MVP additionally mentioned that LeBron James’ and Anthony Davis’ repeated intentions to “let Russ be Russ” in unlocking the most effective model of the previous All-Star have been disingenuous.
“Yeah, [they said it],” Westbrook mentioned. “However that wasn’t true.”
When requested to elaborate, Westbrook mentioned it got here right down to the items being unable to enrich each other.
“It is a mixture of the place we’re on the ground, positioning, match and problem, trial and error, with the ability to play on the ground with one another,” Westbrook mentioned. “Discovering methods to have the ability to make the most of us to the most effective of our talents. It is that easy.”
Westbrook, who has a participant possibility for subsequent season value $47 million, didn’t have a easy reply when requested if he deliberate to train it. “Umm, I am going to make the choice,” he mentioned. “That is why it is known as ‘participant possibility.'”
Lakers vice chairman of basketball operations and normal supervisor Rob Pelinka didn’t decide to giving the James-Davis-Westbrook group one other probability subsequent season, ought to Westbrook choose in.
“Like all participant, we’ll associate with him after that call is made about what’s greatest for his future,” Pelinka mentioned. “Relaxation assured, we’ll look underneath each stone for methods to be higher and be open to something that may enhance our staff and can put us ready to compete at a better stage subsequent yr than we did this yr.”
Westbrook, who performed in 78 video games and averaged 18.5 factors on 44.4% taking pictures (29.8% from 3), 7.4 rebounds and seven.1 assists per recreation, did admit his manufacturing did not meet his private requirements.
“Simply my play normally, not my greatest season, simply going off my very own private scale,” he mentioned. “Clearly I am coming off averaging a triple-double, so something lower than that may not be a superb season for me in my eyes, you recognize what I am saying? In order that’s why the size of the place it comes from is a bit of bit completely different.”
Following a loss to the Phoenix Suns final week that formally eradicated the Lakers from play-in event rivalry, Westbrook mentioned “the plan” could be to play for L.A. once more subsequent season in order that he, James and Davis may see what they seem like along with the advantage of well being. They performed simply 21 video games collectively this season due to numerous accidents, going 11-10.
“I simply hope that now we have an opportunity to have the ability to do one thing,” he mentioned.
After all the grievances Westbrook shared on Monday, he was requested what would entice him to wish to play for the Lakers once more, with the extra context seemingly not lining up along with his earlier declaration.
“I imply, clearly it is going to be plenty of completely different adjustments primarily based on who the coach is and the way our model of play and what we play like,” he mentioned. “So, that query is type of up within the air. However as soon as that call is made then we’ll type of go from there.”