Amid Russell Westbrook trade rumors, Darvin Ham says Lakers support embattled star

LOS ANGELES — They were circling before training camp, they’ve hung around in the last week, and they’re almost certain to continue into the foreseeable future.

As long as Russell Westbrook is a Laker, he’ll be facing an onslaught of trade rumors until the deadline in February. But Coach Darvin Ham has publicly been in Westbrook’s corner since accepting the job, and on Monday prior to the Lakers’ first preseason game against Sacramento, Ham issued perhaps his strongest statement yet in support of the 33-year-old guard.

“He’s ours, and we love him and we want him to do well,” Ham said. “I have a plan for him. That plan included him when they gave me the job. So it’s been a great camp for him. He’s played well. Energy has been through the roof. It’s been great.”

Accordingly, Westbrook started against the Kings alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kendrick Nunn and Damion Jones. Making his first two shots of the exhibition, Westbrook looked emphatic, complete with a “rock the baby” celebration after a driving layup against De’Aaron Fox.

Still, the Lakers haven’t shied away from shopping the nine-time All-Star around.

Multiple people confirmed to Southern California News Group that the Lakers had recently been engaged in trade talks with the Indiana Pacers – but a possible deal for Indiana’s Buddy Hield and Myles Turner that has circulated throughout the entire summer never came to fruition, just as talks with teams…

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