How Russell Westbrook reportedly factored into Frank Vogel’s firing

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The 2021-22 NBA season has been an unmitigated disaster for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Frank Vogel became a casualty of it.

The head coach was fired last month just after the team’s final regular season game, and some wonder if letting him go was the right option.

According to an NBA insider, one reason the Lakers gave Vogel a pink slip was because he was unable to make Russell Westbrook fit in well with the rest of the roster.

Via The Athletic:

“When the decision was made to fire Vogel, sources say his handling of Westbrook and the inability to find a way to make him a more productive part of the program were among the factors that played a big part,” wrote Sam Amick. “There was a strong sense that it was on Vogel to make the Westbrook experiment work, and the fact that it didn’t led to questions about whether Westbrook had been put in a position to succeed.”

Amick went on to write that to him, it appears that this reasoning means there is at least some hope within the organization that Westbrook will remain on the team and that they will make one more attempt to make things work with him.

It wasn't all Vogel's fault

Although Westbrook is still a very good player, his inability to consistently hit shots outside of the paint and his lack of effectiveness when playing off the ball make it difficult for him to fit in any situation.

There were times this season when it looked like perhaps it could work. But for whatever reason, the optics are that the Westbrook experiment failed for the Lakers.

The relationship between Vogel and Westbrook wasn’t the greatest. On more than one occasion, the coach benched the 2017 MVP during crunch time, and the latter didn’t seem OK with it.

Prior to the trade deadline, members of the Lakers’ coaching staff reportedly lobbied for Westbrook to be traded away.

There have also been reports that Westbrook wasn’t receptive to feedback from Vogel’s staff this season.

It’s always possible that L.A. will hire a new head coach who will believe that Westbrook can be part of a winning team and will want him to stick around.

But at least for now, it appears a divorce between him and the Lakers is just about imminent.

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