“If you can’t get in line with what Coach Ham wants, you’re gonna find yourself coming off the bench” - Shannon Sharpe believes Russell Westbrook will be more unhappy with his role this year

Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers
Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers
Charles Eluemuno

Russell Westbrook publicly faulted Frank Vogel for not using him the way he wanted last season. Analyst Shannon Sharpe believes he will also be unhappy this year as his role will be even more diminished.

New LA Lakers coach Darvin Ham has spoken several times about how he intends to elevate the team from their dismal showing last season. He has talked a lot about how their key to success lies with Anthony Davis being healthy.


However, Ham has pointed out that he will be more comfortable with LeBron James playing as the point guard. The Lakers captain has arguably the highest IQ in the game, and the coach is looking to exploit that.

Although Lakers fans will be thrilled with the news, as James has often excelled at getting his teammates involved, Westbrook will be unhappy. The All-Star guard is used to always having the ball in his hands, but that will not be the case.

On "Skip and Shanon: Undisputed," the question about what the new strategy will mean for Russ was raised. Sharpe believes his role will be further diminished and the all-time triple-double champion will be unhappy, saying:

"He ain't gonna be happy. That's what he means for him. Whatever role you thought you had last year, it's gonna be diminished this year. Darvin Ham already told you what he wanted you to do: 'I want you to focus on the defensive end and playing off the ball. I'm gonna need you to dive. I'm gonna need you to cut.
"I'm gonna need you to do other things other than have the ball in your hands.'"

After going on about how Ham trusts LBJ more to orchestrate the offense and always make the right plays, Sharpe said:

"In other words, Russ, whatever you thought your role might be, it's gonna be less than that. Whatever your role was last year, it's gonna be less than that. And if you can't get in line with what Coach Ham wants, you're gonna find yourself coming off the bench.
"And you're not gonna be too happy with that, because you were unhappy with your role last year. I think he's gonna be even more unhappy with his role this year."

Russell Westbrook's future with the LA Lakers is not guaranteed

Injured Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers cheers on his team
Injured Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers cheers on his team

Although Ham has talked much about his excitement towards coaching Westbrook, there is a chance he might still be traded. Russ opted into his $47 million player option a few weeks ago but has been in most of the trade talks surrounding the Lakers.

The Lakers are reportedly interested in trading for Kyrie Irving. They initially explored a sign-and-trade deal, but the Nets were not interested in dealing for Westbrook.

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly still actively looking to deal Russell Westbrook, as well as trade for Kyrie…

Following Kevin Durant's trade request, Irving was once again involved in several trade talks with the Lakers, but they have all broken down. The Lakers' unwillingness to include a second draft pick is reportedly the primary reason for the deal's breakdown.

Westbrook has also been used in a trade package to get Buddy Hield and Myles Turner from the Indiana Pacers. However, all teams are requesting draft capital, which the Lakers are unwilling to give up.

REPORT: The Lakers and Pacers have discussed a trade that would send Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to the Lakers, and Russell Westbrook and draft compensation to Indiana.(via @TheSteinLine)

It is still too early to conclude that Westbrook will be a Laker next season. However, if they fail to trade him, he will undoubtedly don purple and gold for the 2022-23 season.

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein


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