The early returns of the experiment were far from encouraging.
Westbrook was a turnover machine since preseason and could never turn things around under Frank Vogel, eventually being benched late in games and becoming the team’s scapegoat.
So, he became a likely trade candidate as he entered the final year of his contract.
However, his poor play and massive salary made it tough for the Lakers to find any suitors, especially given their reluctance to give any of their first-round picks away.
First-year coach Darvin Ham was quite vocal in his support for Westbrook since day one, stating that he had a plan to bring the best out of him again.
And, truth be told, it’s most definitely worked.
Russell Westbrook tonight:
2 Steals pic.twitter.com/0v9SeVPSox
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 13, 2023
Westbrook has shown glimpses of his old self again this season, thriving and playing with joy while leading the team’s second unit.
The former MVP has set a mark for the most triple-doubles coming off the bench in NBA history, and he’s being as aggressive as he used to be before arriving in Southern California and losing his confidence under Frank Vogel.
So, even though the Lakers might not even make the playoffs this season, they gotta feel good about themselves for this, as they could now try and bring him back as a free agent on a much more reasonable deal.