Russell Westbrook shoots Frank Vogel and blames everyone else

Russell Westbrook said he believes former Lakers coach Frank Vogel had a problem with him during Los Angeles’ losing season.

In his season-ending press conference on Monday, Westbrook called his relationship with Vogel “unhappy” and said he felt he had to constantly prove himself in his debut season with the team.

“I’m not sure what his problem with me was, or I’m not sure why. I can’t really tell you why we never really connected,” Westbrook said.

“That’s something he has to answer…from the start I felt like I had to try and prove myself to him and my skills and what I could do for this game. It’s unfortunate, but it’s out of my hands.”

The Lakers fired Vogel Monday after ending the season with a 33-49 record and failing to make the play-in tournament.

Westbrook struggled offensively for most of his debut season with the Lakers. The 33-year-old averaged 18.5 points per game – his lowest since his second season in the league in 2009/10. His outdoor fights earned him the nickname “Westbrick” from fans, and his wife Nina said her family received death wishes over her husband’s performance.

“When I came here and I was just a person, unfortunately, people telling stories about me and who I am and what I do, what I believe in is just not true,” Westbrook said. “I always have to prove myself year after year, which is just unfair for me, there’s really no reason I have to do that. When I arrived here I just felt like I was never given a fair chance to just be who I needed to be to be able to help this team.”

Admitting it wasn’t his best season, Westbrook said he “embraced any change” while sacrificing himself for the team.

Russell Westbrook
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Frank Vogel
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“There were conversations where I might have felt like what I bring to this team and my ability to better help the team win might not have been in the cards for how the coach wanted to play…I knew I would.” come here must make the greater sacrifice everywhere [in any situation in my career]’ Westbach said. “I’m very careful to put a lot of pressure on myself in any situation. Just my game in general, not my best season, I just go with my own personal scale because that’s the only thing I’m deviating from regardless of the season.

“I know a lot of people outside of here and the media, whatever that is, have their own expectations of how they look, how I should play or what numbers I should put up, but for me personally, I have myself myself on a very, very high scale and yes I’m not happy with how the season has panned out from that perspective. But I felt better with the way I finished the game and got a better rhythm to my personality and how I felt about my game.”

Westbrook – who is the highest-paid player on the LA roster at $44 million – has a $47 million player option for the 2022-23 season, which he hasn’t decided on at this time.

Last week, Marc Stein reported that the Hornets are a “team to watch” as a trade target for the former league MVP. The Athletic mentioned the Pacers as a possible target for Westbrook on Monday. Russell Westbrook shoots Frank Vogel and blames everyone else


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