Report: Darvin Ham Has “More Power” To Bench Russell Westbrook

If Russell Westbrook is still a Los Angeles Laker when the team breaks camp, he can expect to be fully accountable for any poor play. According to a report by Jovan Buha in The Athletic, the coaching staff will have much authority this year to bench the veteran if his play calls for it.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham will have more power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of games, according to league sources. (Former head coach Frank Vogel did so a few times last season). That could eventually extend to removing Westbrook from the starting lineup as well.

It should be more than interesting to see how the 9-time All-Star accepts being benched in crunch time, and even moving to the bench unit in general. He wasn't too pleased the few times coach Frank Vogel took him out down the stretch of games last season. 

Will the Lakers be able to pull off the much-talked-about Westbrook for Kyrie Irving trade with the Brooklyn Nets, to avoid those problems? According to Buha, "the Nets aren’t interested in taking back Westbrook’s contract, which means the Lakers would have to include a third team – with the Pacers, SpursJazz and Knicks as possible options — to accept Westbrook in a salary dump."

Either way, with a disgruntled Westbrook, or a Kyrie-being-Kyrie, it's shaping up to be another drama-filled season in La La Land.

Photo: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports