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Report: Lakers strongly considering bench role for Westbrook

Tyler Ross / National Basketball Association / Getty

Russell Westbrook may lose out in the Los Angeles Lakers' crowded backcourt.

The Lakers are strongly considering bringing the nine-time All-Star and former MVP off the bench this coming season, The Athletic's Jovan Buha and Sam Amick report, citing sources.

Westbrook is owed over $47 million in 2022-23 after exercising his player option, but he's coming off one of the worst statistical seasons of his career. He scored just 18.5 points per game in his debut campaign with the Lakers - his lowest scoring numbers since his third professional season - and was occasionally benched by since-fired head coach Frank Vogel down the stretch of close games.

New head coach Darvin Ham has the backing of the organization to make whatever decisions necessary regarding his rotation, according to Buha. That reportedly includes the prospect of benching Westbrook late in games, much like Vogel did.

Los Angeles' reunion with Dennis Schroder earlier Friday casts more doubt on Westbrook's future with the franchise, which was already on shaky ground following the trade for Westbrook's longtime nemesis Patrick Beverley in late August.

All three are likely to compete for minutes as the Lakers' starting point guard, with Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker, Kendrick Nunn, and second-round selection Max Christie expected to fill out the backcourt rotation. Lakers star LeBron James may also be entrusted with point guard duties, as he was at times last year.

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