The Los Angeles Lakers, as speculated, are keeping Russell Westbrook for the coming NBA season.

Despite talk about a potential trade, the fact that the value of the 2017 NBA MVP is low and that teams want added perks such as the inclusion of a future first-round pick, were key factors, the Bleacher Report reported.

Hence, Westbrook is expected to make $47 million for the 2022-23 season, a hefty sum that needs to be justified. The 2021-22 season was forgettable for the nine-time All-Star although there is still time to make up for lost ground.

This would put added pressure on the newly-installed coach, Darvin Ham. He stood out from the list of candidates that included Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson.

It will be recalled that one requirement by Lakers’ management is to get the most out of Westbrook for the coming NBA season.

Ham, hailed as one of the key factors that helped the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA title this year may have his work cut out for him. But then again, a new system could work for the Lakers.

However, that is easier said than done. With Westbrook visibly failing to mesh with resident stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis last season under ex-coach Frank Vogel, it will be interesting how Ham will adjust and whip the Lakers into the contenders see them to be.

"Too big of an investment and potential upside (most of us thought it was gonna work at the start of last season) to abandon it without seeing how it works with Frank gone," a fan tweeted. "Let’s give Darvin Ham a chance to figure it out, plus the chemistry that has been developed and health."

Ham is familiar to James and he has served as an assistant coach for the Lakers from 2011 to 2013. Now in the driver’s seat, he takes on a new challenge in his first head coaching job in the NBA.

Dwight Howard #39, LeBron James #6, Anthony Davis #3, and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers
Dwight Howard #39, LeBron James #6, Anthony Davis #3, and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images | Jared C. Tilton

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