After a relatively lengthy process that included several well-known names, the Los Angeles Lakers finally named Darvin Ham as their new head coach.
Ham should bring a level of toughness and accountability the Lakers were sorely lacking last season, as well as the defensive and offensive schemes that helped make the Milwaukee Bucks NBA champions. There were several qualified candidates like Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson that made the final cut, but Los Angeles swiftly moved on hiring Ham after their in-person meeting.
The challenge in front of Ham is not an easy one, especially considering there is still no clarity on the future of Russell Westbrook, who seems increasingly likely to to remain on the roster for the 2022-23 season. Previous head coach Frank Vogel was unable to fully utilize Westbrook, and now the task falls upon Ham who will need to come up with ways to properly use the embattled point guard.
However, it seems like Westbrook was in favor of Ham as he reposted the Lakers’ official announcement of his hiring on his Instagram account, via The Lakers Review:
Russ is on board. pic.twitter.com/RqLKT7w1O9
— The Lakers Review (@TheLakersReview) June 3, 2022
Getting a star’s buy-in is important for any new head coach, so it seems Ham at least has Westbrook’s support. Westbrook let it be known in his end-of-season presser that he and Vogel did not always see eye-to-eye and that kind of distraction would make it hard for any team to be successful.
One of the major points of emphasis in the Lakers’ coaching search was how candidates would use Westbrook, and Ham must have devised a well-thought out plan if he was able to secure the job so quickly. Should Westbrook be donning Purple and Gold again, it will be interesting to see what Ham has up his sleeve.
Opposing teams not looking to do Lakers any favors in potential Russell Westbrook deals
The cost of moving Westbrook seems to be too much for the Lakers, who are reportedly not willing to include future draft compensation to offload him. As a $47 million expiring, Westbrook presents some value for teams who may be looking to get off long-term money, but so far, the market seems cool on acquiring him.
L.A. is going to find it difficult to come out on top in any deal because teams know they are pushing hard to get rid of Westbrook, giving credence to reports that no one is looking to do them any favors.
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