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Report: Russell Westbrook, Darvin Ham had heated exchange as trade deadline nears

The Lakers suffered a frustrating loss to the Thunder Tuesday.

Los Angeles Lakers v Milwaukee Bucks
Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with head coach Darvin Ham during the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on December 02, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be aggressive at the trade deadline looking to add key players to the rotation as the team attempts to become a contender in the West. One player on the trade block is Russell Westbrook, who has come off the bench this season for the first time in his career. In Tuesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook and head coach Darvin Ham reportedly got into it and frustrations almost boiled over.

Now this is not exactly the story many thought it would be, and both parties appeared to clear the air after the contest. Westbrook did look solid late in the fourth quarter, but most of his 14 points came in mop-up duty with the game result somewhat decided. That’s not exactly encouraging for Westbrook, who is in an unfamiliar position as a former league MVP.

It doesn’t help that LeBron James, who became the league’s all-time leading scorer Tuesday, has consistently pushed the front office to make a trade sending Westbrook out. James nearly got his wish when Kyrie Irving was available, but the Lakers didn’t have the necessary assets to get the deal over the line. We’ll see if Westbrook, who is an expiring contract, makes it past the deadline as a Laker.