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Darvin Ham Is One Of The Main Reasons Why The Lakers Haven't Traded Russell Westbrook: "He Is The Kind Of Guy Who Will Get Through To Players"

Darvin Ham Is One Of The Main Reasons Why The Lakers Haven't Traded Russell Westbrook: "He Is The Kind Of Guy Who Will Get Through To Players"

The Los Angeles Lakers are facing in the midst of a battle with themselves trying to find a resolution with regards to Russell Westbrook. Westbrook has opted in to be a Laker for the 2022-23 season and is going to start the season unless the Lakers trade him. The most likely destinations are Indiana for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner or San Antonio in a 3-way trade with Brooklyn for Kyrie Irving.   

Coach Darvin Ham has insisted that he wants Westbrook back and wants to play him in a defensive role in his system. He has lobbied for Westbrook to accept the role publicly before, but there are doubts on whether Russ will take a smaller role to stay a Laker.

Steve Bulpett of Heavy has reported that the Lakers are considering giving Ham a chance to coach Westbrook as they have belief in his ability to motivate Russ to play the role that's best for the team. 

"Necessity is the mother of staying together in this case. There is some of that. I think there are also, from what I’ve heard, elements within the Lakers that really want to give Darvin Ham a shot at (using Westbrook). … He’s a different kind of dude. He is not going to put up with the weirdness we have seen in L.A., with that organization. He is the kind of guy who will get through to players."

"As they’ve seen Darvin approach the job, attack the job, they’ve liked it more and more. If they had options with Russell Westbrook, I am sure they’d move him. But as the days have gone on and the options are not there, the idea of maybe, you look in your closet and there is not a lot there, maybe I will wear that suit." (h/t Heavy)

Considering how LA is struggling to move Russ, their best bet is for him to come back at the start of the season and play well to increase his value. It'll give him leverage for his free agency next season and may convince LA to see the season out with him instead of giving out assets for short-term solutions.