Magic Johnson believes it’s crucial for the next Lakers coach to figure out how to maximize Russell Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as he told David Aldridge of The Athletic. Johnson doubts Westbrook’s hefty contract will deliver a palatable package in a trade, so the new coach will need to figure out how best to use the veteran guard in order for the Lakers to make a postseason run next season.
“Well, it only can work, if you’ve got the coach — the right coach. To me, it still comes down to, who’s the coach?” the former Lakers president said. “And, then, also, he’s on a one-year, $47 million (contract with a player option). Even if you offer him (in a trade), what are you, realistically, going to get back? I told them this too — you’re going to get some contracts you probably don’t want, and they’re going to go (chronologically) past his contract. You’ve really got to think about that.”
We have more from the Pacific Division:
- The Lakers have supposedly narrowed their list of potential candidates to replace Frank Vogel to three — Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson. However, Marc Stein reports in a Substack piece that a source close to the situation believes the list under consideration is “still wider” than that trio. Other prominent names could surface or candidates already interviewed for the job may reemerge.
- Luke Loucks has agreed to join Mike Brown’s staff with the Kings, Marc J. Spears of ESPN tweets. Loucks currently works for the Suns in basketball strategy and personnel evaluation. Loucks previously worked with Brown in Golden State and with the Nigerian national team.
- Deandre Ayton‘s agent, Bill Duffy, said in a SiriuxXM NBA Radio interview (Twitter link) that they were “disappointed” the Suns didn’t offer him a max contract extension. However, Duffy is confident his client will get a substantial offer this summer. “Things will work out for Deandre,” Duffy said. “He’s a valuable player and there’s other teams in the league as well. He’s a restricted free agent, so we’ll see how this process unfolds.”