The Los Angeles Lakers formally introduced Darvin Ham as their new head coach on Monday. Ham wasted no time addressing the status of All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.
During his introductory press conference, Ham made it clear that he feels Westbrook is one of the best NBA players ever. He believes that the 33-year-old point guard has a lot left in the tank and admonished those who are writing him off.
"Don't get it messed up. Russ is one of the best players our league has ever seen. There's still a ton left in that tank. I don't know why people tend to try to write him off."
The 2021-22 season wasn't exactly Westbrook's best though. His 18.5 points per game were his fewest since the 2009-10 season.
Russell Westbrook reportedly didn't see eye to eye with former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. That didn't keep Vogel from starting Westbrook in the 78 games he was healthy for. But after Vogel's firing, Westbrook admitted that he and Vogel had "issues."
It seems pretty clear based on Darvin Ham's comments that the Lakers wanted a head coach who was willing to work with Westbrook. His contract through through the end of next season.
But there's always that possibility that it won't work out between Westbrook and Ham in LA. It wouldn't be the first time that a head coach supported a player only for the relationship to quickly deteriorate.
Will Russell Westbrook and Darvin Ham get along?