Darvin Ham will have more power to bench Russell Westbrook in crunch time, says NBA insider

Russell Westbrook may be on the bench in crunch time of Los Angeles Lakers’ games, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

As the NBA insider reports, new head coach Darvin Ham will ‘have more power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of games’.

“Based on the current roster, I project the closing lineup to look something like this: Davis, Juan Toscano-Anderson, James, Brown and Reaves. I think Westbrook will often be in there, too, but it will depend on how he’s shooting, his decision-making and his defense.

Ham will have more power to bench Russell Westbrook down the stretch of games, according to league sources. (Former head coach Frank Vogel did so a few times last season). That could eventually extend to removing Westbrook from the starting lineup…

With the fifth spot, Westbrook may have the advantage considering his status, but he may end up rotating with Brown, Nunn or Walker, depending on how they’re shooting that night,” Buha reports.

Russell Westbrook decided to pick up his player option, worth $47.1M, and remain with the 17-time NBA champions. For their part, the Lakers want to trade him, yet no team has shown significant interest to land him so far.

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If he eventually stays with the squad, he will likely start for LA, however it is still unclear what his role will be. The Lakers aim to return to the playoffs next year and have a deep postseason run.

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