Darwin Hamm will have the option to bench Russell Westbrook if he stays with the Lakers, according to report.

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One of the many points of contention between Russell Westbrook and Frank Vogel was Westbrook’s usage late in games. On a few occasions, Vogel benched Westbrook for crunch time thinking other players had earned the right to shut down for the Lakers. Westbrook didn’t like it. “I earned the right to be in the final lineup,” he said told reporters After one such incident, Vogel lost his job. The only reason Westbrook is on the team is because no one else wants him.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Vogel’s replacement, Darwin Hamm, has been given the authority to use Westbrook as he sees fit. According to Jovan Buha of Athletic, Hamm “will have more power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of games” and that power “could eventually extend to removing Westbrook from the starting lineup.” Reports last season indicated Vogel could make the move, but he fears doing so would risk losing Westbrook’s commitment entirely.

All signs point to both Westbrook and the Lakers wanting a split. The Lakers bought him in an open trade, specifically for Kyrie Irving. Westbrook parted ways with his longtime agent, Thad Faucher, due to irreconcilable differences. Future said in a statement He then believed Westbrook should accept Hamm’s offer to take on a new role as a more defensive-oriented starter. This suggests that Westbrook will continue to play his signature style on another team. Until then, it’s unclear whether any team would be interested in giving him that kind of control.

Tactically, there’s a compelling argument in favor of keeping Westbrook from leaving. The Lakers have built a roster almost entirely devoid of shooting. No one on this team is a career 38 percent 3-point shooter. Kendrick Nunn is no marksman, but he is at least a decent shooter who can take defenders away from LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook is not. If it’s not obvious today, it will be early in the season.

This suggests that Westbrook is still on the team. For now, the Lakers are in a holding pattern. Until the Kevin Durant situation is resolved in Brooklyn, there’s nothing they can do to force an Irving trade. Once the dust settles on the Nets, we’ll have a clearer idea of ​​what the Lakers will look like. But even if Westbrook is back, it looks like he’ll have to earn his spot on next season’s roster.