Lakers: Darvin Ham Offers Succinct Response To Russell Westbrook’s New Team

The ex-Laker remains at Arena in a different uniform.

Upon having his $47.1 million expiring contract get flipped to the Utah Jazz at the February 9th NBA trade deadline, former Los Angeles Lakers reserve point guard Russell Westbrook had a variety of intriguing next options on the buyout market.

Brodie ultimately opted to stay in his hometown (well, he’s from Long Beach, but that’s close enough), switching sides to join the Los Angeles Clippers, presumably as a backup behind starter Terance Mann. Led by star wings Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the 33-28 Clippers are currently the fourth seed in a competitive Western Conference, and seem primed for a major postseason push, assume Leonard and George stay healthy.

So how does Westbrook’s move to the Clips sit with his old head coach?

Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times reports that Lakers head coach DarvinHam offered up a fairly contrite reaction to Westbrook’s new digs… at the team’s same Arena homecourt. 

“I’ll just say this: I appreciate Russ for everything he tried to do for us, for sacrificing, complying with my vision of him coming off the bench and having a more balanced lineup,” Ham said. “I wish him well going forward, and that’s it.”

One can parse all kinds of connotations from that statement, if so inclined. The biggest red flag is Ham’s pretty frank assessment of Westbrook’s actual performance on the floor for LA, mentioning “everything he tried to do for” the team. The implicit inference is that Westbrook did not necessarily succeed in his efforts, just that he tried. Considering his shortcomings in his role with the team and the amount of cap space he sucked up on the roster, he just was not a fit.

Will Westbrook succeed in a more minimal role, on a team with legitimate title aspirations? Time will tell, but yours truly at least is skeptical.

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