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LA Lakers Rumors Roundup: Lakers great James Worthy doesn't believe All-Star would come off the bench next season, Juwan Howard puts an end to Purple and Gold rumors, and more | 23rd May 2022

LA Lakers legend James Worthy can't see Russell Westbrook agreeing to an off-the-bench role if the new head coach asks for it. [Photo: Lakers Daily]
LA Lakers legend James Worthy can't see Russell Westbrook agreeing to an off-the-bench role if the new head coach asks for it. [Photo: Lakers Daily]
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Michael Macasero

Former LA Lakers great James Worthy sees potential trouble if Russell Westbrook is asked to come off the bench by Frank Vogel’s replacement. Westbrook bristled at that same idea last season when the team could have made better use of him without LeBron James on the floor.

Before the Lakers trimmed their coaching finalists to Darvin Ham, Kenny Atkinson and Terry Stotts, they reportedly sent feelers to University of Michigan head coach Juwan Howard. The former NBA player is keen on coaching the Wolverines, who have his two sons Jace and Jett in the lineup.

Two of the most high-profile GMs in the NBA, Sean Marks of the Brooklyn Nets and Rob Pelinka of the LA Lakers, reportedly had a hush-hush meeting. The get-together could be something that could affect how they make their future decisions for their respective teams.


James Worthy finds it impossible for the LA Lakers’ new head coach to play Russell Westbrook off the bench

There's no way Russell Westbrook will give up his starting spot if Frank Vogel's replacement deems it necessary, according to James Worthy. [Photo: The SportsRush]
There's no way Russell Westbrook will give up his starting spot if Frank Vogel's replacement deems it necessary, according to James Worthy. [Photo: The SportsRush]

The biggest concern that the LA Lakers’ new head coach will have to deal with is incorporating Russell Westbrook better into the roster. Last season’s epic failure was partly about how the Lakers were unable to make full use of “Brodie’s” skills and experience.

Iconic LA Lakers forward James Worthy, on Spectrum SportsNet, gave reservations on what could happen should Russell Westbrook be asked to give up his starting spot. If the front office agrees that using Westbrook off the bench is the best way to move forward, trouble could come anytime.

“I’m always like, players adapt to whatever the system is, but it’s a new time. Russ is a unique player. Would he come off the bench? Could you convince a future All-American [Hall-of-Famer] to come off the bench at age 34, 35? I don’t think so, I don’t think that’s his style or his image. But that to me, is where he’s gonna get to play his game without LeBron on the floor as much.”
The #Lakers' search for a head coach is heating up. 🔥 @JamesWorthy42 weighs in on what he'd like to see from the next person in charge of the purple & gold. #LakeShowPodcast @geeter3 @RealAClifton Full episode: bit.ly/3wZmnvd https://t.co/tWzTZ1n3h4

Having Russell Westbrook play sixth man extraordinaire is not a new idea, but it’s something the former MVP has reportedly refused to discuss with Frank Vogel. LA’s campaign next season could fall under the cliche “same sh*t different day” scenario if they can’t get their acts together.


Juwan Howard will not be coaching the LA Lakers next season

Juwan Howard isn't leaving the Michigan Wolverines to coach the LA Lakers. [Photo: Lakers Daily]
Juwan Howard isn't leaving the Michigan Wolverines to coach the LA Lakers. [Photo: Lakers Daily]

Associated Press 2021 National College Coach of the Year Juwan Howard is staying in Ann Arbor to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Having his two sons Jace and Jett on the roster is an added motivation for the two-time NBA champ to refuse the LA Lakers’ coaching “overtures.”

Adrian Wojnarowski posted this report to quell rumors of LeBron James’ former teammate with the Miami Heat from coaching the Purple and Gold team:

“ESPN Sources: Michigan coach Juwan Howard recently declined a Los Angeles overture on the franchise’s head coaching job. Howard is coaching his two sons - Jace and Jett - in Ann Arbor.
ESPN Sources: Michigan coach Juwan Howard recently declined a Los Angeles Lakers overture on the franchise’s head coaching job. Howard is coaching his two sons — Jace and Jett — in Ann Arbor.

“Nook’s” vast experience in the NBA and having served as a Miami Heat assistant coach were supposedly valuable points in his resume. More importantly, he previously played with and coached LeBron James, which could potentially make him a great fit in the Lakers’ locker room.

To GM Rob Pelinka’s credit, they quickly moved to finalize their coaching candidates so the Lakers could promptly prepare for next season.


Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks met LA Lakers counterpart Rob Pelinka during the draft combine

Sean Marks, the Brooklyn Nets GM and LA Lakers executive Rob Pelinka had a get-together at the draft combine. [Photo: Marca]
Sean Marks, the Brooklyn Nets GM and LA Lakers executive Rob Pelinka had a get-together at the draft combine. [Photo: Marca]

The Brooklyn Nets and the LA Lakers were easily the most disappointing teams last season. They were two of the biggest pre-season favorites to win the NBA title who fell way short of expectations.

LA embarrassingly failed to even make in to the play-in tournament while Brooklyn was swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics. As both teams plan for a grand comeback next season, Brooklyn’s Sean Marks and Rob Pelinka of the Lakers had a meeting during the NBA Combine.

Per Adam Zagoria:

“Nets GM Sean Marks and Lakers exec Rob Pelinka had a meeting at Marriott Marquis this week at the NBA Combine.
Nets GM Sean Marks and Lakers exec Rob Pelinka had a meeting at the Marriot Marquis this week at the NBA Combine. Unclear what they discussed. Potential trade? Dinner plans? Comparing superstar headaches?
"Unclear what they discussed. Potential trade? Dinner plans? Comparing superstar headaches?”

Both executives could be sharing notes on what they can do next season as they almost have mirror situations. Rumors are surfacing, however, that Pelinka is doing his due diligence on Kenny Atkinson, one of the leading candidates for the Lakers’ head coaching job.

Perhaps they could also be laying the groundwork for an earth-shattering swap between two of their respective team’s beleaguered stars, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. Whatever the case may be, having Marks and Pelinka in the same meeting is something that will surely grab people’s attention.


Edited by Parimal
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