Western Notes: Westbrook, Bleijenbergh, Suns, Thunder

Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham gave an honest assessment of Russell Westbrook‘s potential role with the team next season, as relayed by Heavy.com.

“I think the style of play we’re going to have, you know, all of those guys — not only just Russ but LeBron, AD — they’re going to be able to share the load,” Ham said as part of a larger quote. The Lakers’ new coach also mentioned that he’s challenged Westbrook to defend at a high level and the former MVP has accepted the challenge.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Vrenz Bleijenbergh has accepted a summer league invitation from the Suns, he announced on social media (Twitter link). The Las Vegas Summer League will be held from July 7-17 this year. Bleijenbergh, 21, is a 6’10 forward who played in Spain and with the Windy City Bulls this season. He went undrafted last year.
  • Longtime Suns employee Melissa Fender Panagiotakopoulos, who had been working for the franchise since 2007, resigned from her position last month and alleged that she was targeted and retaliated against by her superiors after voicing concerns about gender equity within the organization, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN. While Panagiotakopoulos didn’t reference any issues with Robert Sarver in her complaint, the Suns’ owner remains under investigation due to allegations that he engaged in misogynistic behavior and created a toxic work environment
  • Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman examines the Thunder‘s draft outlook, which includes how the team is tied to Shaedon Sharpe and other miscellaneous notes. Among those notes is forward Jalen Williams, who worked out for Oklahoma City and has reportedly climbed draft boards. “It’s a well-run organization,” Williams said of the Thunder. “They have a lot of culture and history with good players. They’re really structured. It was a really cool experience to see how disciplined they were and see how serious they take even the little things during the workout.” 
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