It is yet to be determined whether Russell Westbrook will remain with the Lakers for another year. But if he does stay, the team needs to higher ‘the right coach,’ according to LA legend Magic Johnson.
The five-time NBA champion thinks that the new head coach should be tasked with figuring out how to use Russ and should invest time in conversations with the 33-year-old point guard.
Johnson also touched on Westbrook’s contract situation which is a player option for $47 million for next season. The former NBA MVP is expected to use his player option.
If the Lakers decide to part ways with the superstar, one way to do that is to trade him. However, Johnson doubts that there is a trade that would give the purple and gold valuable assets in return.
“MJ: 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? And, then, also, he’s on a one-year, $47 million (contract). 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. Are those players you’re going to get back, are they going to really help you? I said, talk to him. Whatever happened (this season), how can you make it better with Russell? How can you make it more comfortable? So they’ve got to figure all these things out. Take him out, take him to dinner or sit him down. How can this thing be better? ‘Cause if he’s going to be there, it’s got to be better. I guess whoever they name, that’s the first thing they’re going to have to do. And you can’t sit down once. You’re going to have to sit down for a week or two to try to figure that thing out.”
This past season Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.3 minutes per game.