Russell Westbrook Takes Joy in Lakers Whiffing on Coaching Search

Getty Russell Westbrook of the LA Clippers.

The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to pry Dan Hurley, their preferred head coaching candidate, away from the University of Connecticut, and that apparently pleased former Lakers guard Russell Westbrook.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Monday, June 10, that Hurley had turned down an offer of six years and $70 million to lead one of the NBA’s most iconic franchises. And while Westbrook didn’t respond to Wojnarowski’s X post with a written message, he did let his feelings be known by “liking” the post.

The popular LakeShowYo account re-posted Wojnarowski’s report and highlighted Westbrook’s engagement.

“Westbrook being petty 😭,” the caption said.

Lakers’ Trade for Russell Westbrook Ended Up Disastrous

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

GettyRussell Westbrook, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers traded Westbrook to the Los Angeles Clippers ahead of the deadline during the 2022-23 season after a little more than a year and a half of what ultimately proved a failed experiment.

Westbrook played a total of 130 regular season games for the Lakers, starting 81 of those. He averaged 17.4 points, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 1 steal across 32.1 minutes per game, according to Basketball Reference.

Star LeBron James was a proponent of that deal, and some reporters went as far as to imply he was the catalyst of the trade with the Washington Wizards that sent Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and a first-round pick to the nation’s capital in exchange for Westbrook and second-rounders in 2024 and 2028.

The three-star model didn’t work out for the Lakers, as they missed the playoffs during Westbrook’s one full season with the team before relegating him to a bench role early in the following campaign. It became evident that holding onto Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope, both of whom played on the 2020 title team, would have probably led to better results that year and certainly would have allowed the Lakers more flexibility to roster build moving forward.

Westbrook spoke to media members in early 2023 about the trade, highlighting the Clippers’ desire to have him on the squad as an important factor — a statement that implied he no longer felt wanted in the Lakers’ locker room.

“That’s a huge part, man, for anybody, for any normal human being in any situation in the workplace,” Westbrook said. “A lot of teammates and people that want you here, it’s very important to me. I value that a lot.”

Lakers’ Head Coaching Job May Not Be as Attractive as Other NBA Opportunities

Darvin Ham, LeBron James

GettyFormer Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham speaks with LeBron James during an NBA game.

The Lakers will eventually hire their third head coach in six years, but as glamorous as being a leading man in LA appears to be, it may not have the juice that some other opportunities around the league do.

That was the message from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who said on June 11 that he believed most people around the NBA considered the Cleveland Cavaliers job a better opening than the one with the Lakers.

For many people in the NBA, I think they would think that the Cavs job is more attractive,” Windhorst said on ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show.” “No. 1, and the most important reason, is that the Cavs’ roster is better. The Cavs have a better team than the Lakers do. … Secondly, the Cavs play in the Eastern Conference. The Eastern Conference right now, the ability to compete and win at the highest level, it’s an easier path.

“And frankly, the Cavs organization might out-pay the Lakers on the head coach,” Windhorst said.

The comparison is beyond ironic considering James left Cleveland the second time to head to LA. However, the Lakers will obviously land someone eventually, and there are a handful of names still in the mix.

“The Lakers resume their search and will continue to bring in previous candidates, including New Orleans Pelicans assistant James BorregoBoston Celtics assistant Sam CassellDenver Nuggets assistant David Adelman and JJ Redick, sources said,” Tim Bontemps of ESPN wrote on June 10.

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