Darvin Ham admits discord with trade candidate D’Angelo Russell

D’Angelo Russell has been one of those who have been heavily affected the most by LA Lakers coach Darvin Ham’s fluid rotations. He was a regular starter up until November when LA’s struggles prompted Ham to make him part of the bench mob. Russell was re-inserted into his usual spot on Saturday against the Utah Jazz.

Since regaining his starting point guard role, “DLo” has played well. In the Lakers’ 127-110 thumping of the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, he scored a team-high 29 points. For the second time in the last three games, he has top-scored for the team.

After the victory against the Mavericks, Ham was asked about D’Angelo Russell’s recent string of excellent performances:

(2:42 mark)

“I just think his willingness to communicate, to share his feelings, even though they sometimes may not be in agreement with mine, I totally respect that. I’m all about communicating with the players. It creates clarity.

“The dialogue we have had in film sessions, one-on-ones during the game, or shootaround. We’re trying to be, as much as possible, on the same page.”

D’Angelo Russell, besides having a tough stretch in the previous weeks, also had to battle a tailbone injury. Darvin Ham recognized that and wanted to ease him back into the action. It wasn’t until after he scored 19 points off the bench in LA’s 132-125 loss to the Phoenix Suns that Russell managed to regain his starting role.

Based on his comments two nights ago, Ham will be sticking to the starting unit that opened the season. If he sticks with it, “DLo” will not be going back to the bench unless he gets traded.

Darvin Ham is unruffled by trade talks around D’Angelo Russell

The LA Lakers signed D’Angelo Russell to a two-year, $36 million contract in the offseason with a player option in the second year. The belief was that if the Lakers struggled, the point guard would be an ideal trade asset due to his age and team-friendly contract.

Following the win against the Mavericks, LA is now 21-21, which is in 10th spot in the very competitive Western Conference. The Houston Rockets (19-21) and the Golden State Warriors (18-22) are hot on their heels.

To improve the Lakers’ chances of landing a playoff spot, they may have to remake the roster with D’Angelo Russell a candidate for a trade. Darvin Ham is taking all the speculations in his stride. He had this to say about Russell trade talks:

“We signed him because we knew he could help us. We still know he could help us. We believe in him. … “It’s that time of the year with the trade talks.”

Ham added that Russell was a big part of the LA Lakers’ surge in the second half of last season. The coach is convinced that with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves healthy, the team could have another strong finish.

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Edited by Michael Macasero

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