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#pounditSaturday, June 15, 2024

Russell Westbrook hints at issue with benching in new quote

Russell Westbrook dribbles

Russell Westbrook has made it pretty clear that he would not be happy with any sort of benching by the Los Angeles Lakers. He did it again on Friday by offering an injury update that managed to take a shot at the situation.

Westbrook sat out Wednesday’s loss to Portland with back tightness, prompting speculation about his status so close to the trade deadline. On Friday, Westbrook said his back had tightened up during the team’s previous game against Milwaukee. He attributed that, in part, to sitting on the bench more than he was used to.

Westbrook sitting during crunch time has become a running theme lately. The veteran guard did not play at all in overtime of Saturday’s game against the New York Knicks, and coach Frank Vogel sent a pretty clear message to him after that game. Westbrook, in turn, has made it clear that he believes he has earned the right to play the most important parts of a game.

Perhaps Westbrook is having a bit of fun here, but there’s an undercurrent of honesty to it. That leaves the Lakers in a very awkward spot considering how poor he has looked for large parts of the season.

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