Russell Westbrook admitted he and the Lakers had a “very disappointing season” and took a swipe at now-former head coach Frank Vogel during his postseason press conference. Westbrook was often benched in late-game situations and didn’t seem to understand why, according to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m not sure what his issue was with me,” Westbrook said of Vogel. “When I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I need to be to better help this team.”
We have more on the Lakers:
- LeBron James, who is eligible to sign an extension with the team this offseason, plans on a major turnaround next season, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. “I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, but I’m still hungry for more,” James said. “I’m confident that this organization wants the same. That’s what this organization has always been about. And I also want to just change the narrative of how this franchise can compete at a high level again.”
- VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka admits his roster moves last offseason “did not work” and vows to do a better job this summer, Woike and Turner relay in a separate story. “This was a disappointing Lakers season at every level,” Pelinka said. “In the face of disappointment, our fans expect more, and that’s at every facet. It starts with the front office led by me and our ability to construct the right roster. It starts with the coaches holding players accountable and making sure that there is on-court execution. It goes to our training staff doing everything they can to make sure we have healthy bodies on the court. And it goes to our players to play at … with on-court execution at the highest level because that’s what Lakers fans expect and deserve from all of us.”
- Free agent Malik Monk said “me feeling at home” will be a key to deciding where he’ll play next season, Goon tweets. Monk was one of the few bright spots this season, averaging a career-high 13.8 PPG and 2.9 APG.
- In his offseason preview, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes the Lakers’ salary cap issues and lack of draft picks to improve the roster. He explores how Pelinka might approach the offseason with those limitations. In his own Lakers offseason primer, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha said youth, athleticism, length, shooting and defense must be prioritized, and they need to sign a starting-level wing with their taxpayer midlevel exception.