Much of the Russell Westbrook news this offseason has been about whether or not the Lakers are willing to spend the two first-round draft picks it will reportedly take to trade him elsewhere. Westbrook and LeBron not publicly acknowledging each other during a Lakers Las Vegas Summer League was another noteworthy story. As was Russ firing his longtime agent Thad Foucher after a 14-year partnership.
On Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was one of the first to report that Westbrook has hired a new agent to represent him.
“Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook has signed with agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelsm for his representation, Westbrook told ESPN on Monday afternoon.”
According to HoopsHype.com, Schwartz currently represents: Khris Middleton, Kemba Walker, Kristaps Porzingis, and Mikal Bridges. Lakers fans will quickly recognize some of the other names that the agent represents: Brandon Ingram, DeAndre Jordan, Ivica Zubac, Malik Monk, and Andre Drummond.
Why Westbrook Fired Thoucher
After Westbrook and Thoucher parted ways, Thoucher was incredibly transparent about the breakup. Which is a rare occurrence after high profile athletes and respected agents part ways.
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Woj outlined the foundational reason that Russ and his agent decided to end their partnership after nearly a decade and a half of working together.
“In a statement to ESPN, Foucher, one of the NBA’s prominent player representatives, cited “irreconcilable differences” and suggested that there was no longer full alignment with Westbrook about whether the former MVP should want to remain with the Lakers for the final season of his $47 million contract.”
Apparently, Foucher advised Westbrook to accept the defense-first, off-ball role that head coach Darvin Ham has roughly outlined throughout recent interviews.
“Foucher said he believes Westbrook’s ‘best option is to stay with the Lakers, embrace the starting role and support that Darvin Ham publicly offered.'”
Apparently, that’s not what Russ wanted to hear.
Westbrook’s hiring of Schwarz could have an effect on his Lakers future, but it will definitely have a marked impact on his impending free agency next summer.