Report: Lakers' LeBron James, Anthony Davis Talk to Russell Westbrook About StrugglesJanuary 25, 2022
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are among several key members of the Los Angeles Lakers organization trying to help Russell Westbrook overcome his season-long struggles.
Per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, James and Davis speak to Westbrook "regularly" to make sure he's comfortable and in a position to have success on the court.
Shelburne also noted Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has "met individually with Westbrook several times throughout the season to try to find ways to help him feel more comfortable and succeed on the court" in his first season with the Lakers.
Things with Westbrook came to a head in L.A.'s Jan. 19 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Vogel benched the nine-time All-Star for the final 3:52 of the fourth quarter.
Westbrook told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski he was "surprised" by the decision, but he remains focused on trying to "figure s--t out and do what's best for our team to win in the long run."
Vogel told reporters after the game he was "playing the guys that I thought were going to win the game."
Per ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Lakers management "has told the coaching staff to coach Westbrook as the coaches see fit" in behind-the-scenes discussions that had been taking place for more than a week.
During the offseason, there were rumblings that the Lakers were pursuing a deal with the Sacramento Kings involving Buddy Hield.
Per Bill Oram, Shams Charania, and Sam Amick of The Athletic, talks even got to a point where Kings management wound up "steaming" mad after the Lakers decided to back off once they learned they might have a chance to get Westbrook from the Washington Wizards.
The Lakers ultimately sent Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Aaron Holiday, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Isaiah Todd's draft rights to Washington for Westbrook.
According to Oram, Charania and Amick, the Lakers opted to acquire Westbrook because they believed he would make "them a more dangerous team in the postseason."
As things currently stand, the Lakers are in a fight to even make the playoffs. They are the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with a 23-24 record. They rank in the bottom half of the league in offensive and defensive rating, per Basketball Reference.
Westbrook is on pace to have his lowest scoring average (18.6 points per game) since 2009-10. He's only shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from three-point range.