Russell Westbrook and Frank Vogel have a running spat about how late in games he should be playing. Westbrook was benched a couple of times by Vogel, who thought other players had earned the right to close out games for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 33-year-old veteran was not happy about it. In the aftermath of one of these incidents, he said, “I earned the right to be in closing lineups.” Soon enough, Vogel was fired from his position.
Darvin Ham, Vogel’s successor, seems to have been given carte blanche to use Westbrook any way he sees appropriate. Hammer has “greater authority to sit Westbrook down the stretch of games” and that “power might ultimately extend to eliminating Westbrook from the starting lineup,” according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
Russell Westbrook-Lakers: Inevitable split?
According to reports from last season, Vogel was on the verge of making this move, but he held off because he was afraid of losing Westbrook permanently. All indications are that Westbrook and the Lakers are looking to split.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been publicly trading him for Kyrie Irving. As of today, any possible trade is stalling. There is nothing the New York Knicks can do to compel a deal for Irving until the issue with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn is settled.