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Lakers likely to keep Russell Westbrook, may bring him off the bench

Lakers likely to keep Russell Westbrook, may bring him off the bench

Even with the recent signing of Dennis Schroder, it is likely that the Los Angeles Lakers will be keeping Russell Westbrook this season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

"With training camp roughly a week away and the team recently conducting players-only workouts at its El Segundo practice facility, the prospect of Westbrook being part of the Lakers’ program — again — is becoming more real by the day," writes Buha. "And yes, sources say, that’s still the case after the Friday news from our Shams Charania that veteran point guard Dennis Schröder is returning to the Lakers this season."

It also appears that the Lakers have contemplated bringing Westbrook off the bench, something he has never done in his entire NBA career.

"Yet, while the Lakers have been hopeful the Westbrook experiment might be a success this time, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic that the prospect of Westbrook coming off the bench is being strongly considered," writes Buha.

"At a minimum, it seems clear Westbrook will have to outplay new addition Patrick Beverley and Schroder if he’s going to retain his starting role. As with most lineup constructions ahead of training camp and the season, it remains a very fluid situation. But sources say first-year head coach Darvin Ham, with the full backing of the organization, is ready and willing to make whatever difficult rotation decisions might lie ahead in the interest of team success."

No matter what fans may think of this situation, Schroder and Westbrook have been teammates before (on the Oklahoma City Thunder). They even made the playoffs together in 2019, though they suffered a gentleman's sweep in the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Last season, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.9 threes while shooting 44.4% from the field, 29.8% from three and 66.7% from the free-throw line. He is owed $47,063,478 next season, which is the final year of his contract.

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