Russell Westbrook joined the Los Angeles Lakers last offseason. Despite that, the former league MVP saw his name come up in trade rumors ahead of last season’s deadline, and in the aftermath of the team’s disappointing 2021-22 campaign, Westbrook once again got linked with a move away from Los Angeles via a trade.
As of now, Westbrook is still on the Lakers, even if there has been a whole lot of speculation that he could be headed to Brooklyn in a move that reunites LeBron James with Kyrie Irving. And in a recent interview with Marc Spears of Andscape, new Lakers coach Darvin Ham indicated that he already knows how he wants to Westbrook in Los Angeles this season.
“Counted out prematurely,” Ham said of Westbrook. “Counted out. Prematurely. I’ve had some great interactions with Russ, in person, over dinner, over the phone, over text messages. I love Russell Westbrook, man. Just his mentality, his approach. Just to see him, a guy of that magnitude and everything he’s done in the league to get hated on. But being me, I got a wholehearted plan, a clear plan on how I’m going to use him. I showed it to him, sat down, brought stuff up for him. I think he’s going to flourish. We ain’t going to try to curtail his energy. We’re just going to diversify it, redirect it.”
Ham went on to state that he plans on using Westbrook in the team’s starting lineup this season. This is not the first time that Ham, who will fill in for the recently-fired Frank Vogel, has praised Westbrook ahead of the 2022-23 season. Whether or not he gets to work with him, however, remains to be seen.