Frank Vogel Resisting Pressure To Pull Russell Westbrook From Starting Lineup

Several people in the Lakers’ organization want to see Russell Westbrook coming off the bench, but head coach Frank Vogel has resisted making the move, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Although Vogel is supporting Westbrook, tensions between them have been growing this week, sources tell Wojnarowski, including an incident at a film session on Friday. Westbrook and the coaching staff have “differing visions” on how he should be used, Woj adds.

Westbrook spoke out publicly about his frustrations on Thursday, saying his role with the team has changed “every single night.” A ball-dominant player throughout his career, Westbrook has been asked lately to spend more time off the ball and give up some of his play-making duties.

Vogel admitted to reporters on Friday that he has talked to the front office about moving Westbrook to a reserve role, but he downplayed the significance of those conversations.

“We have discussions, just like the front office has thousands of trade discussions every deadline, and they don’t discuss every one of those,” Vogel said. “Most of them don’t come to fruition. And that’s where we’re at with Russ. Is there a path where that’s the better option? We have talked about that. We’ve talked about everything we can do with our team. We’re not there.”

The dispute comes at a particularly bad time for the Lakers, who have dropped 11 of their past 14 games and are in danger of falling into the final play-in spot. Westbrook’s shooting struggles have played a significant role in the downturn, Wojnarowski adds, as he’s connecting at less than 30% from three-point range for the fourth time in five seasons and has gone 10 consecutive games without reaching 20 points for the first time since 2009.

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