Darvin Ham Says Westbrook Will "Absolutely" Be A Laker Next Season

New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has come to town with a strong message for the haters: He "absolutely" wants Russell Westbrook on his team next season.

With Westbrook watching intently from the back of the press conference, Ham told the assembled media, “Don’t get it messed up. Russell is one of the best players our league has ever seen. He still has a ton left in that tank. I don’t know why people tend to write him off. I’m going to approach him like every player I’ve ever encountered."

Westbrook's season with the Lakers was the worst of his career. He averaged 18.5 points per game and shot 29.8% from 3-point range.

But Ham is quite confident he'll be able to work him in both offensively and—in particluar—defensively. 

"We’re going to talk about our running habits with the ball, without the ball... share the load defensively and offensively. Defensively is where you’re going to see us make our biggest leaps and bounds. We have to commit to the defensive side of the ball or we don’t have a chance to do anything. The offense won’t even matter if we don’t get stops.”

Perhaps all the talk about Russ' future with the Lakers will die down... at least for now.