Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is receiving an increased push from several members of the organization to remove Russell Westbrook from the starting lineup and start using utilizing him off the bench, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Despite the pressure to do so, Vogel has yet to demote Westbrook. Still, Wojnarowski reports that the point guard and coaching staff haven’t seen eye-to-eye on how to best utilize his talent, which has led to some “tense moments” between Westbrook and Vogel recently.

Westbrook has been mired in a trying campaign, adjusting to his role of no longer being the primary ballhandler alongside LeBron James.

The experiment of trading for Westbrook and his massive contract, instead of acquiring Sacramento Kings shooter Buddy Hield or re-signing Chicago Bulls defensive guard Alex Caruso, has been pointed out as a key reason for the Lakers’ disappointing season.

Los Angeles is currently the ninth seed in the Western Conference with a 28-35 record.

Westbrook, who’s averaging 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists, but in the midst of another below 30 per cent shooting season from beyond the arc, has a player option for $47 million next season.

Vogel was asked about the prospects of bringing Westbrook off the bench on Friday, to which he said “we’re not there yet.”

The Lakers bounced back from a four-game losing streak on Saturday night. Westbrook scored 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting, and James lead the way with 56 points in the 124-116 win over the Golden State Warriors.


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