Legendary coach Phil Jackson is back in the fold, serving in an advisory role with the Lakers, and he has been a fan of point guard Russell Westbrook “throughout his career,” according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Does that mean Jackson is a fan of Westbrook with the Lakers? Amick didn’t specify, though it would be hard to imagine that Jackson saw Westbrook and the Lakers this past season, and then decided Westbrook is a fit.
Anyway, back to Jackson. He coached the Lakers of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant (and then just Bryant) to five championships in the early-to-mid 2000s, and Michael Jordan‘s Bulls to six before that.
So he can probably recognize what works and what doesn’t on a basketball court. And as of this past season, Westbrook’s inflated salary did not match his productivity, or again, his overall fit, as the Lakers couldn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament.
Entirely fair or not, much of that was pinned on the failed Westbrook trade.
The Lakers will most certainly try to trade Westbrook again, perhaps to no avail, given the aforementioned contract, which is set to pay him $47 million before expiring in 2023.
So that is where Jackson comes in, theoretically. If anyone can advise on how to get the most out of a player who is coming off an uneven season, it is a former coach with 11 rings.
Follow Sam Amico @WireHoops