Russell Westbrook And Lakers Can Work With Right Coach, Magic Johnson Says

Lakers legend and former executive Magic Johnson hasn’t given up on the idea of Russell Westbrook working in LA.Russell Westbrook

“Well, it only can work, if you’ve got the coach — the right coach,” Johnson told David Aldridge of The Athletic. “To me, it still comes down to, who’s the coach? And, then, also, he’s on a one-year, $47 million (contract). Even if you offer him (in a trade), what are you, realistically, going to get back?”

Along with former coach Phil Jackson, Johnson has reportedly been assisting GM Rob Pelinka in the coaching search. Johnson has also apparently been advising in other areas, including the Westbrook situation.

“I said, talk to him. Whatever happened (this season), how can you make it better with Russell?” Johnson told Aldridge. “How can you make it more comfortable? So they’ve got to figure all these things out.

“Take him out, take him to dinner or sit him down. How can this thing be better? ‘Cause if he’s going to be there, it’s got to be better. I guess whoever they name, that’s the first thing they’re going to have to do. And you can’t sit down once. You’re going to have to sit down for a week or two to try to figure that thing out.”

The Lakers are reportedly down to three finalists in their coaching search — Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts and ex-Nets coach and current Clippers assistant Kenny Atkinson.

As we wrote earlier, Johnson indicated he thinks the Lakers should focus on getting a former NBA player as coach.

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