The Beginning Of The End? Former NBA Player Says Westbrook's Entire Future On The Line

We broke the news on Wednesday that Russell Westbrook's return to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup on Friday would be met with him being pulled from the starting lineup to come off the bench. That big experiment starts tonight. And how he handles it will go a long way toward determining both the Lakers' and Westbrook's future. 

ESPN's analyst and former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins says Westbrook's entire NBA future is on the line here. 

This is an audition for Russell Westbrook not just to help the Lakers get wins, but this is an audition because the rest of the world is going to be watching to see how he handles this situation... All the GMs across the league are watching to see how Russell Westbrook reacts.

And how does Perk think that's going to go? "I honestly don't believe he's going to handle it well." He points out that Russ blamed his recent hamstring injury on Ham's decision to make him come off the bench in a preseason game as the reason for his pessimism on how Westbrook will handle it. 

Perkins gives a shout-out, meantime, to Lakers coach Darvin Ham for "doing what's best for his team, and not losing his team and the locker room because of one individual."

Perk summed it up with this ominous prediction: 

Russell Westbrook is NOT HAPPY about this situation... and this is just the first step (toward) the END of Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Lakers... Remember: The NBA World is watching him!