The Lakers have their next head coach.
Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham has been hired to manage the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He replaces Frank Vogel, who was fired in April after Los Angeles failed to qualify for the playoffs this season, just two years after winning the NBA championship.
This is Ham’s first head coaching job and the contract is for four years, according to Wojnarowski.
“So EXCITED!!!!!!!! Congratulations and welcome Coach DHam!! » tweeted LeBron James of the Lakers.
Ham, a former player who spent eight years in the league, served as an assistant coach for the Bucks for the past four years, including during last season’s title run. He was also an assistant for the Lakers before, from 2011 to 2013, before joining the Hawks in 2013.
The 48-year-old, whose playing career included stints with the Nuggets, Pacers, Wizards, Bucks, Hawks and Pistons, had been considered a top candidate for a coaching job- leader for the past two years. According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers interviewed two of their three finalists this week, including Ham and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts.
Ham’s immediate and most important task will be figuring out how to get Russell Westbrook to fit in alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis after the Lakers traded for the future Hall of Fame guard last offseason.
The Lakers, who won a championship in the 2020 NBA bubble season, were again among the favorites this season after acquiring Westbrook, but injuries, a lack of cohesion and poor play led to a disastrous year in which they went 33-49 and finished 11th in the Western Conference.
Ham, who worked under Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and comes from a coaching tree that includes a number of other NBA coaches, also won a championship as a player with Detroit in 2014.
New York Post