D’Angelo Russell, Lakers Coach Darvin Ham Clashed During January Film Session

According to NBA reporter Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell and head coach Darvin Ham clashed during a January film session. 

D'Angelo Russell, Lakers, Darvin Ham, NBA
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Ham wanted to see better effort and execution, while Russell wanted to see sharper schemes. 

“There’s times we agree to agree, agree to disagree or come to an understanding,” Ham said of his relationship with Russell, acknowledging his responsibility to improve their discourse after last season’s finish. “But it’s not so much the dialogue as it is the access to have it. And I can’t stress that enough. I can go to him and let him know how I feel and meet him halfway, or tell him I need him to come more over to my way, or [it can be] him telling me how I need to trust him more and come more over to his way. And it’s a workable relationship.”

Added Russell: “We played tennis with that. I hit the ball back, he hit it to me. … That’s the season. That’s what you use 82 games to develop, and we developed it.”

Ham benched Russell during the 2023 Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, a series the Lakers got swept in. Russell was also benched this season before returning to the starting lineup on January 13. 

Russell admitted that former Lakers guard Dennis Schroder‘s relationship with Ham last season prevented him from having a rapport with Ham. Schroder and Ham were close since they worked together on the Atlanta Hawks. 

“His relationship with Darvin is the reason I couldn’t have a relationship with Darvin,” Russell said. “When I was struggling, I would’ve been able to come to the coach and say, ‘Bro, this is what we should do. Like, I can help you.’ Instead, there was no dialogue. … I just accepted it. And we got swept and I’m here and he’s not. And I like our chances.”

Schroder signed with the Toronto Raptors last summer in free agency, while Russell re-signed with the Lakers. 

The Lakers shopped Russell at this year’s NBA trade deadline, but D’Lo wasn’t traded. 

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