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Magic Johnson Says The Only Way For The Lakers To Make Russell Westbrook Work In Their Team Is With The Right Coach: "To Me, It Comes Down To This, Who's The Coach? Whoever They Name, You're Going To Have To Sit Down With Him For A Week Or Two."

Magic Johnson Says The Only Way For The Lakers To Make Russell Westbrook Work In Their Team Is With The Right Coach: "To Me, It Comes Down To This, Who's The Coach? Whoever They Name, You're Going To Have To Sit Down With Him For A Week Or Two."

There are two big decisions for the Los Angeles Lakers to make this offseason that will determine how well they bounce back next season. Who their next Head Coach will be and what to do with Russell Westbrook, both these questions are intertwined in some way. There are reports that the Lakers are already asking candidates how they would integrate Westbrook into the team. 

So far, the search for a top coach doesn't seem to be going well. Doc Rivers and Nick Nurse are very likely not going to be coming, so Darvin Ham and Terry Stotts have been reportedly named among the finalists for the job. But the Westbrook situation would pose a problem for just about any team. 

Magic Johnson, in a recent interview with The Athletic, suggested that the only way to make Westbrook work for the Lakers is if they can find the right coach for the team. He elaborated on the fact that Westbrook's contract is hard to move and that it leaves the Lakers with very little wiggle room: 

David Aldridge: "I talked with you about Russell last year, when he was about to break Oscar’s career record for triple-doubles. And I thought it could work with him and LeBron and AD this year. Do you think it could still work?"

Magic Johnson: "Well, it only can work, if you’ve got the coach — the right coach. 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? 

"I told them this too — you’re going to get some contracts you probably don’t want, and they’re going to go (chronologically) past his contract. You’ve really got to think about that. Are those players you’re going to get back, are they going to really help you? 

"I said, talk to him. Whatever happened (this season), how can you make it better with Russell? 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."

Westbrook's stats fell off across the board last season and the former is owed $47 million next season. The Lakers' payroll means there are not too many roster moves that they can make, so a lot of responsibility for turning things around will fall on the new coach. One thing must be said, if a new coach can come in and make Westbrook work within the team after the way last season went, it will be a huge achievement for whoever that ends up being.