The coronation of new all-time NBA scoring champ LeBron James on Tuesday night wasn’t without its share of back-room drama. Crypto .com arena is just down the road from Hollywood, after all.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers’ volatile guard Russell Westbrook and coach Darvin Ham got into a “heated verbal exchange” in the locker room during halftime against Oklahoma City.
Though the tense exchange was reportedly brief, Ham was apparently annoyed with Westbrook’s lingering on the floor after getting subbed late in the second quarter. Voices were raised, according to the report, with talk eventually turning back to the game at hand, one that the Lakers went on to lose, 133-130, to drop to 25-30 in what has been another woeful season in Los Angeles.
Westbrook finished the game on the floor for the Lakers, tallying 14 fourth-quarter points — a season-high — and he and Ham apparently “dapped up” prior to each leaving the arena, per ESPN.
It has been an up-and-down season for the nine-time All-Star. Westbrook has been relegated to mostly a reserve role since early in the season. He’s averaging a career-low 28.7 minutes per game to go with 15.9 points per game, his lowest output since his rookie season in 2008-09 with the Thunder.
There have also been trade rumors swirling around Westbrook for most of the season, with the latest involving the Lakers sending the irascible star to the Jazz after missing out on landing Kyrie Irving after the Nets star was traded to the Mavericks earlier this week.
Westbrook finished Tuesday’s game with 27 points, eight assists and four rebounds.