Skip to main content

Could the Los Angeles Lakers firing Frank Vogel lead to Russell Westbook actually staying?

Jason Burgos
los angeles lakers, russell westbrook
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

After the Los Angeles Lakers dismissed head coach Frank Vogel in April, the assumption was that the departure of former league MVP Russell Westbrook would be the next major domino to fall. However, it seems that Vogel’s firing could lead to Westbook staying in LA for another season.

The 2021-2022 Lakers were a disaster. Anthony Davis only played in 40 games due to various injuries. Lebron James missed 26, and the new superstar acquisition in Westbrook had one of the worst seasons of his career. Averaging under 20 points per game for the first time since his second year in the league over a decade ago.

Related: NBA games today – Get a complete rundown of the next set of NBA playoff matchups

The 33-49 dumpster fire that was this season’s Lakers unsurprisingly lead to the dismissal of Vogel only a couple of years removed from him helping the franchise win their 17th NBA title.

Russell Westbrook may not be done with the Los Angeles Lakers

los angeles lakers, russell westbrook
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface, it seems as if the trio of James, Davis, and Westbrook is a bad mix, and the former Oklahoma City Thunder great should be the odd man out. However, a new report from The Athletic’s Senior NBA writer Sam Amick claims that Vogel may end up being a scapegoat for Westbrook’s poor play this season. And his firing may actually open the door to the Los Angeles Lakers letting a new coach attempt to bring synergy and chemistry to the superstar trio next season.

“I’m starting to wonder if the Lakers might not trade Russell Westbrook this summer after all,” Amick wrote on Thursday. “When the decision was made to fire Vogel, sources say his handling of Westbrook and the inability to find a way to make him a more productive part of the program were among the factors that played a big part. There was a strong sense that it was on Vogel to make the Westbrook experiment work, and the fact that it didn’t lead to questions about whether Westbrook had been put in a position to succeed. That sure smells like the hope of a Russ revival to me.”

  • Russell Westbrook stats (2021-2022): 18.5 PPG, 7.4 REB, 7.1 AST

While maybe a case could be made a good part of the team’s failings should fall on Vogel, it is hard to overlook that he was a championship-winning coach two years ago with a similar group — sans Westbrook. Considering the team has two ball-dominant players, one with strong shooting skills and the other without, it just seems more likely Westbrook is not a fit for this team.

But the over $40 million he has left on his player option next season makes him exceedingly hard to trade in the offseason, so the organization’s brass may be trying to talk themselves into making sense out of keeping the nine-time All-Star for another season.