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Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham will not look to shut Russell Westbrook down if the veteran point guard remains with the team, according to Marc Stein, and will identify a definitive role for the player should that be the case.

Westbrook has been the subject of trade speculation following the Lakers’ acquisition of Patrick Beverley last week but there’s every possibility he stays put given his massive contract. According to Stein, he won’t be shelved if a trade can’t be made as the Lakers are strongly against that.

“Yet I am also hearing that, if no trade involving Westbrook materializes and if he is on the roster when the Lakers start practicing on Sept. 27, new Lakers coach Darvin Ham remains determined to carve out a real role for Westbrook,” the journalist reported via Substack.

“Sources say that the Lakers, to date, have strongly resisted the idea of shelving Westbrook completely until they can find a trade for him like the Rockets tried last season with John Wall — even after trading for longtime Westbrook adversary Patrick Beverley.”