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#pounditSunday, March 3, 2024

Report: Russell Westbrook, Darvin Ham had heated locker room exchange

Russell Westbrook warms up

Oct 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook prior to the preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Darvin Ham reportedly became frustrated with Russell Westbrook during the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, and the head coach did not hide his emotions.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ham and Westbrook had a “heated verbal exchange” in the locker room during halftime of the Lakers’ 133-130 loss to OKC. Ham was unhappy with how slow Westbrook was getting off the floor late in the second quarter after the coach subbed him out. He called Westbrook out during halftime, which reportedly led to the two raising their voices.

The discussion eventually turned back to a productive one, and Wojnarowski notes that Ham and Westbrook were seen exchanging a handshake after the game.

Westbrook has come off the bench in all but three games this season. He is averaging 15.9 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game. The 34-year-old is a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

That does not mean Westbrook has been thrilled with the role, however. The Lakers are 25-30 and once again appear to be miles from championship contention. Westbrook is said to have called out L.A.’s coaches during a game last month, so he has certainly had other moments of frustration this season.

Westbrook’s brother also caused a stir over the weekend with some anti-Lakers social media activity.

There was once again talk of Westbrook potentially being traded when the Lakers showed interest in Kyrie Irving, but Irving ended up with the Dallas Mavericks. It does not seem like Westbrook is going anywhere ahead of Thursday’s deadline, though that could change if there are lingering issues between him and Ham.

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