Russell Westbrook had a lot to say during his end-of-the-season press conference.
“I think it’s unfortunate to be honest because I’ve never had an issue with any of my coaches before,” Westbrook said about Vogel. “I’m not sure what his issue was with me or I’m not sure why, but I can’t really give you an answer to why we really never connected. That’s something that he has to answer, but I never, from the get-go, was feeling like (we were on the same page.) I was having to try to prove myself to him and my capabilities and what I’ve been able to do for this game and it’s unfortunate but it’s really not (my fault). It’s kind of out of my hands.”
After Westbrook explained how he felt about Vogel, he turned his attention to the Lakers organization, who according to the one-time MVP, didn’t give him “a fair chance just to be who I needed to be to help this team.”
Westbrook Goes off on Lakers Organization
Westbrook thinks his negative reputation unfairly preceded him and that he was never given a “fair chance” with the Lakers, who acquired him from the Washington Wizards last summer.
“When I first got here, unfortunately, people create narratives of who I am and what I do and what I believe in that just aren’t true,” Westbrook said. “I’m always having to prove myself again year after year after year, which to me is really unfair. There’s no reason for me to have to do that. So when I first got in here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be to help this team.”
Westbrook, the NBA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles, also blamed false news reports as a contributing factor to his struggles this season.
“The famous ‘source’ stories that came out about myself, whether it be between me and the staff, me and Frank, me and the fans, there’s just so many made-up stories that are not true,” Westbrook said. “It’s just always having to fight against that constantly. It’s just not [being] given a fair chance. It’s like, ‘OK, now I got to fight against this made-up story. Now I got to fight against this one. Now I go to fight against this one. Now I got to fight against this one.'”
Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the field, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line for the Lakers, who didn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament. Russ committed 295 turnovers in 78 games and air-balled and bricked so many shots that fans started calling him “Russell Westbrick.”
Westbrook has a player option worth $47,063,478 for next season. Since he took shots at Vogel and the Lakers, some pundits believe he doesn’t want to return to LA next season. At the end of his press conference, the future Hall of Famer was asked about his future.
Westbrook Talks About His Future
Westbrook was asked what would entice him to want to play for the Lakers again after everything he went through this season. The nine-time All-Star, who was born and raised in California, said his decision will come down to several factors.
“I mean obviously it’s going to be a lot of different changes based on who the coach is and how our style of play and what we play like,” Westbrook said. “So that question is kind of up in the air, but once that decision is made, then we’ll kind of go from there.”
It will be fascinating to see where Westbrook is playing next season. If he’s not on the Lakers, whatever team he’s on will be his fifth club in five years.