Los Angeles Lakers’ Russell Westbrook opens on a disappointing season with Frank Vogel

EL SEGUNDO, California – When Frank Vogel was removed as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers earlier in the day, Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook opened up about the interruption between the two in his first season in LA

“I think it’s unfortunate, to be honest, because I’ve never had a problem with any of my coaches before,” Westbrook said Monday after his exit interview with the Lakers’ front office. “I’m not sure what his problem was with me, or I’m not sure why, but I can not really give you an answer as to why we really never had a connection.”

Westbrook, who was the highest paid player in the Lakers’ nightmarish 2021-22 season, also did not finish his grip on the coach. He aimed at several other aspects of his Lakers experience that went wrong at his 21-minute news conference, and described how he felt he was being wronged.

“When I first got here, the ability to do what I’m capable of for a team and an organization was not a fair chance,” he said.

Westbrook went on to blame fake news reports as a contributing factor to his struggles last season.

“The famous ‘source’ stories that came out about myself, whether it’s between me and the staff, me and Frank, me and the fans, there are just so many fictional stories that are not true,” Westbrook said. “It’s just always having to fight it constantly. It just’s not [being] given a fair chance. It’s like, ‘OK, now I have to fight this fictional story. Now I have to fight against this one. Now I’m going to fight this one. Now I have to fight this one. “

When asked directly to cite an example of a fictional story about his time with the Lakers, he did not provide a specific answer.

“No,” Westbrook said. “I can not. You know the examples. I do not want to go into detail, what story, who wrote it, why … it is meaningless. It really does not matter, because it is not true. If it does. “does not come from me [it is not true]. “

The 2017 league MVP also said that LeBron James ‘and Anthony Davis’ repeated intentions to “let Russ be Russ” by unlocking the best version of the former All-Star were irreparable.

“Yes, [they said it]said Westbrook. “But that was not true.”

When asked to elaborate, Westbrook said it came down to the pieces not being able to complement each other.

“It’s a combination of where we’re on the floor, positioning, fit and challenge, trial and error, being able to play on the floor with each other,” Westbrook said. “Finding ways to leverage us to the best of our abilities. It’s that simple.”

Westbrook, who has a player option for next season worth $ 47 million, did not have a single answer when asked if he planned to take advantage of it. “Umm, I’m making the decision,” he said. “That’s why it’s called ‘player option’.”

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka did not commit to giving the James-Davis-Westbrook team a second chance next season if Westbrook were to sign up.

“Like any player, we will work with him after this decision is made about what is best for his future,” Pelinka said. “Be assured we will look under every stone for ways to get better and be open to anything that will improve our team and will put us in a position to compete at a higher level next year than we did in year.”

Westbrook, who played in 78 games and averaged 18.5 points on 44.4% shooting (29.8% from 3), 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. struggle, admitted that his production did not live up to his personal standards.

“Just my game in general, not my best season, it’s just going from my own personal scale,” he said. “Obviously I’m coming off an average triple-double, so anything less than that would not be a good season for me in my eyes, you know what I’m saying? So therefore the scale of where it’s coming from is a little different.”

After a defeat to the Phoenix Suns last week that officially eliminated the Lakers from the play-in tournament, Westbrook said the “plan” would be to play for LA again next season so he, James and Davis could see how they look out along with the benefit of health. They only played 21 games together this season due to various injuries where they became 11-10.

“I just hope we have a chance to be able to do something,” he said.

After all the complaints Westbrook shared on Monday, he was asked what would entice him to want to play for the Lakers again, with the extra context apparently not in line with his previous statement.

“I mean, of course, there will be a lot of different changes based on who the coach is and how our playing style and what we play as,” he said. “So, that question is a little bit in the air. But once that decision is made, then we go a little bit from there.”

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