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With the clock ticking down to the NBA trade deadline, it appears as though there's a bit of drama in Los Angeles. At halftime of the Lakers' 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, Russell Westbrook and coach Darvin Ham had a short, but intense exchange in the locker room, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The exchange was the result of Ham expressing frustration with Westbrook for lingering on the court after being subbed out in the second quarter. 

The exchange between the two didn't result in any sort of playing time-related discipline for Westbrook, as he played nearly 15 minutes in the second half of the contest against Oklahoma City, including seven minutes and 48 seconds in the fourth quarter. Westbrook scored 14 points in that final frame, but it wasn't enough to propel the Lakers to a win. The outcome of the contest was the secondary story from the game however, as Lakers forward LeBron James became the NBA's all-time leading scorer late in the third quarter. 

The incident between Westbrook and Ham doesn't sound too egregious, but the timing is interesting since it happened less than two days before the 2023 NBA trade deadline. Westbrook has long been mentioned as a player that the Lakers could (and should) look to move, and that talk has only intensified leading up to the deadline. It's worth wondering if this situation will provide the Lakers with any added motivation to get a deal done. 

For what it's worth, this isn't the first time that Westbrook has clashed with a Lakers coach. He also had issues with Frank Vogel last season, and Vogel was reportedly fired at least in part due to his inability to maximize Westrook. The marriage between Westbrook and the Lakers has consistently been a shaky one. 

Ham moved Westbrook to the bench earlier this season, a move he has accepted, if not embraced. However, it's entirely possible that Westbrook is tired of being in a reserve role and hearing his name in trade rumors. Perhaps the exchange with Ham was an example of his frustration boiling over. 

Westbrook can still be a productive player, but he has never been an ideal fit on the Lakers alongside James. As a result it seems extremely unlikely that the team will re-sign him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season. With the deadline looming, perhaps L.A.'s front office will finally pull the trigger on a deal for the former MVP.