Darvin Ham Says Lakers 'Love Everyone on Our Roster' amid Trade Rumors

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 9, 2022

Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said the staff wants to "maximize everything" about the team's current roster despite speculation trades could be on the horizon.

Ham explained Friday that trade rumors are the "nature of the beast of our business" and they aren't part of his focus ahead of his first season leading the Lakers.

"We love everyone on our roster," Ham told reporters. "And until you're not on our roster, you're ours and we're going to try to get better with the group that we have. That's just the bottom line of it."

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to headline L.A.'s roster once again during the 2022-23 NBA season, but there's little certainty beyond that.

A lot depends on the future of Russell Westbrook.

If the Lakers are able to move the nine-time All-Star, who endured a forgettable first season with the team, either in a blockbuster featuring somebody like the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving or in a deal to create some financial flexibility, optimism could return to L.A.

That won't be the case if Westbrook stays with the franchise and the Lakers try to run it back with the same core group with some smaller roster adjustments.

They missed the playoffs with a 33-49 record last season. While injuries were a definite factor, even when the core trio of James, Davis and Westbrook did play together the Lake Show didn't look anywhere close to a championship contender.

Ham was asked Friday whether he's been able to build camaraderie since being hired in early June. He noted that while there's been consistent communication, actually taking concrete steps in that regard is difficult during the offseason.

"This is a funny time of year," Ham said. "AD has a newborn on the way. These guys have busy schedules. They're busy guys. Russ is doing his fashion thing. LeBron has a zillion things going on."

The coach's arrival after spending the past four years as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks was a step in the right direction, but the Lakers roster needs a spark and a reason to believe a turnaround is possible after the disappointment of last season.

Ham has maintained an upbeat attitude about what Los Angeles can accomplish, even if there isn't a seismic change to the roster, but the pressure is on the front office to get something done.

Otherwise, it could end up being another long year in L.A.


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