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#pounditSunday, June 26, 2022

Lakers eyeing coach candidate with notable ties to Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook dribbling

Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) in action during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Los Angeles Lakers be hiring a Russell Westbrook whisperer of sorts to be their next head coach?

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Lakers have requested permission from the Toronto Raptors to interview their assistant coach, Adrian Griffin.

Griffin played in the NBA from 1999 to 2008 and also has some noteworthy ties to the Lakers star Westbrook. Griffin previously coached Westbrook as an assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Griffin’s two seasons in OKC, during which he was Billy Donovan’s lead assistant, included Westbrook’s MVP year in 2016-17.

Of course, Griffin is plenty qualified beyond his connection to Westbrook. He has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2008 with stops on five different teams. Griffin is also currently Raptors coach Nick Nurse’s lead assistant and helped guide the franchise to their first-ever title in 2019.

While it is true Westbook might not even be with the Lakers next season, hiring Griffin would be a quality move regardless that would also give the Lakers a parachute in case they cannot find a trade partner for Westbrook.

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