The Los Angeles Lakers surprisingly decided to run it back with Russell Westbrook after concluding their worst season in franchise history. The Lakers are in this mess all because they don't want to give up their last two draft picks (2027 and 2029) of the decade — which to be fair, is an understandable move.
Westbrook is now being compared to Allen Iverson
The reason why Westbrook, a proven future Hall-of-Famer, is in Los Angeles in the first place is because LeBron James and Anthony Davis believed in him. After all, Brodie is still a serviceable player despite not playing within the standards of his $47 million contract. Unfortunately, Westbrook's fit in L.A. is simply a disaster and exposed most of his negative qualities as a basketball player.
Because of Westbrook's decline and inability to fit in Los Angeles, the Lakers have strongly considered demoting him to the bench. The team's head coach Darvin Ham imposed the decision to bench Westbrook in the final preseason game this season and is reportedly considering doing so moving forward.
"Another guy, Allen Iverson, went through those situations for different teams where he did not want to come off the bench, and he could not handle coming off the bench. And that's why a lot of us felt like, 'Man, Allen Iverson should have still been in the league for a long time,' but he did not want to be in that role. And I think Russ is in that right now. And, you know, it's either you buy in or you don't," Carter said in his latest podcast, "The V.C. show."
A well-deserved demotion
Being sent to the bench to start games and close games is certainly a hard pill for Westbrook to swallow, who has always been a prideful and confident player. But there comes the point where enough is enough, especially if he constantly costs the team games.
Westbrook is currently averaging 8% from the 3-point line and is only putting up 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in his first 3 games this season — for a player making the second-highest salary in the league, that's inexcusable.
"Sometimes it takes a little getting used to because it's a shot to your ego. I'm speaking from experience. Starter. Go-to guy. All-Star. You get a new role and it sounds good and you buy in until you really have to buy in. Sometimes it's not that easy and we all handle these situations differently," Carter added.
Just like what Carter said, it's up to the 9-time All-Star to decide whether he wants to buy into his new role or not. Westbrook no longer has the choice to fight for what he wants because, at this point, his poor performances (which may or may not be out of his control) merit a demotion similar to what Iverson went through at the end of his career.