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Terry Stotts ‘intrigued’ by coaching Russell Westbrook with the Los Angeles Lakers

Vincent Frank

Former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts officially interviewed for the Los Angeles Lakers’ vacancy in Southern California on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Stotts is one of three known finalists to replace Frank Vogel on the bench in Los Angeles, joining current assistants Kenny Atkinson (Golden State Warriors) and Darvin Ham (Milwaukee Bucks).

Coming off a 49-loss season, there’s a major backdrop here. That includes roster construction behind Lebron James and the status of Russell Westbrook in Southern California.

According to Mark Medina of NBA.com, Stotts is actually “intrigued” with the possibility of coaching Westbrook.

“Terry Stotts is intrigued with potentially coaching Russell Westbrook and believes he can help him be more effective and comfortable with his role than he was last season.”

Medina on Stotts’ interview with the Lakers

Despite continuing rumors that the Lakers will part ways with Westbrook after one disastrous season, recent suggestions conclude that they are more likely to keep him. In fact, the Lakers’ brass is using this as a reference point in interviews with Stotts and Co.

Related: Updated Los Angeles Lakers rumors

Would Terry Stotts make it work with Russell Westbrook?

portland trail blazers terry stotts
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There’s certainly a track record of success on Stotts’ part when it comes to point guards. He led the Blazers to eight playoff appearances in nine seasons before being fired following a first-round playoff exit in 2021. Most of Scotts’ time in the Pacific Northwest was spent helping turn Damian Lillard into a future Hall of Fame point guard.

Even prior to that, Scotts has proven he can work with point guads. As the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach from 2005-07, he worked with T.J. Ford. In his first stint as an NBA head coach with the Atlanta Hawks from 2002-03, he helped turn Jason Terry into an All-Star performer.

  • Terry Stotts coaching record: 517-486, nine playoff appearances

As for the Lakers and Westbrook, it seemed to be akin to fitting a square peg into a round hole a season ago. He just didn’t work with the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In fact, Westbrook took aim at the two following Los Angeles’ disastrous season.

“When I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance to be who I needed to be to better help this team.”

Russell Westbrook on dynamics with James and Davis

Regardless of whether Terry Stotts believes he can help Westbrook turn his career around next season, there’s other dynamics at play here. In addition to perceived drama behind the scenes, the former MVP is coming off his worst statistical performance since the 2009-10 season.

At 33 years old, there’s very little hope that Westbrook will somehow morph back into the player he was a few years back. At the very least, Scotts seems to think he can get more out of the future Hall of Famer.

It could play a role in the Lakers’ decision-making process, too.