Saturday night's 124-118 victory over the Warriors was a surprising bright spot in what has otherwise been a disastrous season for the Purple and Gold.
At 28-35 on the campaign, things have not been pretty and the relationship between Russell Westbrook and the Lakers coaching staff, in particular, has been a real point of concern.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Bill Oram, it was the coaching staff pushing for Westbrook's exit ahead of the deadline.
Sources say the coaching staff made an unsuccessful push for Westbrook to be traded before the Feb. 10 deadline, when the Lakers passed on Houston’s John Wall, in part, because of the draft considerations that it would have required to make the deal. There were also significant concerns about the fact that Wall hadn’t played all season and, thus, didn’t instill confidence in his ability to help the Lakers turn their season around.
The trade deadline is long gone by now, but it seems the situation has failed to improve at all since the development was first reported.
Yet now, it appears, the friction between Westbrook and the coaching staff has only grown worse. Sources confirmed the recent rising of tensions between Westbrook and the coaching staff, which were first reported by Marc Stein. If only for a night, Westbrook’s 20-point, four-assist, four-rebound, plus-13 outing against the Warriors on Saturday offered a reminder that he is capable of being part of the solution. But the performance was an outlier, to say the least.
Less than two years ago, the Lakers capped off a miraculous bubble run by raising the Larry O'Brien trophy for the 17th time in franchise history.
With so much having changed since then, it's not entirely surprising that the team is not nearly as dominant as it used to be.
As Rob Pelnka and the front office look for a solution, expect Westbrook to be at the front and center of the rumor mill this summer. If not, it could be the coaching staff that undergoes major changes.
Either way, something has to give -- and only time will tell who is left standing when all of the smoke clears.