Sources: Lakers to test Russ with second unit

by Gordon Dixon - The Lakers are planning to bring Russell Westbrook off the bench in their final preseason game against the Kings, sources told ESPN. Coach Darvin Ham and Westbrook have been exploring possibility of the guard quarterbacking the second unit.

Lakers to use Russell Westbrook off bench as test, sources say 11:29 AM ET Adrian Wojnarowski Close Adrian Wojnarowski Senior NBA Insider Host of The Woj Pod Joined ESPN in 2017 Dave McMenamin Close Dave McMenamin ESPN Staff Writer Lakers and NBA reporter for ESPN. Covered the Lakers and NBA for ESPNLosAngeles.com from 2009-14, the Cavaliers from 2014-18 for ESPN.com and the NBA for NBA.com from 2005-09. The Los Angeles Lakers will bring Russell Westbrook off the bench for their final preseason game, a move that may be a precursor to a longer look at the nine-time All-Star guard quarterbacking the second team, sources told ESPN on Friday. Lakers coach Darvin Ham and Westbrook discussed the possibility of him serving as a sixth man throughout the offseason, and sources said the two discussed it again Thursday ahead of Friday's game against the Sacramento Kings . The Lakers want to give Westbrook a chance to play both faster and freer with the ball in his hands leading the second unit, something that perhaps mirrors the autonomy that Rajon Rondo had during the 2019-20 season. Editor's Picks Westbrook gives context to viral huddle video 12h Dave McMenamin 1 Related Westbrook, who is on a $47 million expiring contract, has been the subject of numerous trade discussions throughout the offseason, and that is expected to continue through the start of the regular season and toward the February trade deadline. Westbrook has started 1,004 of his 1,021 career NBA games -- only coming off the bench in his first 17 games as a rookie in 2008. This would be the Lakers' sixth preseason lineup in six preseason games, something that Ham said Thursday would be by design. "It's different combinations of seeing different guys play together," Ham said. "You have to prepare yourself. You got to get out in front of the fact that there's going to be injuries. We don't want them to happen. We don't want them to happen to any of our guys, let alone our main guys. You just have to prepare yourself and be at the forefront of that by plugging in different lineups, different players and different positions so that when that day comes you feel a little bit more prepared."