The Los Angeles Lakers have long signaled that they have no intention of including any kind of asset to trade Russell Westbrook, leading many to believe he will be back in 2022-23. Now that Darvin Ham is the head coach, has anything changed?


Marc Stein reports the Lakers continue to signal zero desire to “force” a Westbrook trade that will cost them assets. Stein also brought up the longstanding idea of a Westbrook-for-John Wall trade with the Houston Rockets, but the only way that trade will happen is if Los Angeles includes draft compensation as a sweeter. The Lakers reportedly still have zero interest in such a deal.

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Perhaps this is all still just a leverage ploy and L.A. will wind up cutting ties later this offseason, but for now, all indications are that Westbrook will be back. Hence why Ham spoke so highly and openly about Westbrook during his introductory press conference. If Westbrook is indeed going to stick around, Ham will bear the responsibility of trying to make it work, which Frank Vogel failed to do. Of course, the players bear some responsibility as well, and Westbrook must be willing to adapt.

If Westbrook is back, L.A. will also try to do a better job of building a more competitive roster around the three star players. The group from this season was simply not good enough, though the awkward Westbrook fit and the Anthony Davis injury problems took center stage.