The Los Angeles Lakers once again dropped below .500, and Russell Westbrook is tired of the “same question.” After the Lakers’ 22-point loss to the Celtics, Westbrook emphasized that he is tired of being asked about how long it will take him to click with the rest of the team’s roster.
“I think the reality of it is is that everybody on the outside have really high expectations of our team, as they should, but the reality of it is, we haven’t really played with each other, realistically,” Westbrook explained during his postgame press conference on November 19. “And nobody cares and obviously after each game, everybody asks the same question and I’m tired of giving the same answer. So, it’s the same question every game, every time we lose it’s like, ‘Hey how long do you think it’s going to take?’
“We don’t know, like it’s just when we win, it’s still going to take some time. So, the reality of it is, is that throughout the season there’s going to be ups, there are going to be downs. It’s now what you do as a team. Either you can pull apart or you come together and figure it out. And we know that we have the team to be able to figure it out and the experience to be able to do so. Our job is to get it, now do it and implement the things that we know on the floor and try to figure it out as the season prolonged.”
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There Is Not a Thriving Trade Market for Westbrook
Even a healthy LeBron James could not help the Lakers solve their problems in his return to the court. Westbrook posted 12 points, six assists and four rebounds while shooting 38.5% from the floor. The Lakers’ big three of Westbrook, James and Anthony Davis have had limited time together to start the season as a result of unfortunate injuries.
The hope is that the Lakers will start to mesh as they log more minutes together on the floor. The challenge for the Lakers is there is a limited trade market for Westbrook’s $44.2 million salary, even if the team wanted to pull the plug on the experiment. Their only realistic option is to figure out a fix within their existing roster as Lakers Nation’s Trevor Lane pointed out.
“There is no quick, magic fix for the Lakers. For the ‘trade Russ’ crowd, where?” Lane tweeted on November 20. “For what? Lakers have the team they have. The fix is unlikely to come via trade, though perhaps we see some minor moves. Improvement will have to come from within.”
Vogel on Westbrook: ‘It’s Going to be an Adjustment Period’
The Lakers players and coaches have stressed patience but the pressure is mounting as the calendar turns to 2022 for the team to turn things around if they want to make a deep playoff run. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel emphasized at the beginning of the season that Westbrook was going to need more time to adjust than any player on the roster.
“Yeah, him more than anybody, it’s going to be an adjustment period, right,” Vogel explained during his October 19 postgame press conference. “He’s coming into our culture, our system. He’s the new guy, and he’s got to find his way and it’s difficult to when you’re used to being the guy that has the ball. …Tonight, to be able to play off of others, like Bron and A.D., so it’s just a little bit different for him. He’s going to be great for us, but it’s gonna be an adjustment period.”