The Los Angeles Lakers are currently one of two teams with head coaching vacancies in the NBA, as the Charlotte Hornets are still searching while the Sacramento Kings recently hired (former Lakers coach) Mike Brown to their head coach position. It’s been reported many times by both ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania that the Lakers would be patient with a methodical search for their next leader, however, it sounds like they are getting close to the final stages. Wojnarowski has now reported the following regarding Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts.
Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts are among candidates who've advanced to the final round of interviews for the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching job, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 20, 2022
Up to this point, Ham, Stotts, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, and former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson were the only candidates reported to have interviewed already with the Lakers. It was reported that these initial interviews were performed virtually on Zoom while later interviews could be done in person. Because of that, it’s assumed Ham and Stotts will be (or might have already) interviewed in person with the Lakers’ brain trust. The team may have been at least waiting to do so until Ham had a little more time on his hand, as his Bucks were recently eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
It should also be noted that Wojnarowski indicates that there may be additional candidates that have advanced to the final round of interviews for the Lakers’ head coaching job. Because of that, Jackson and Griffin (or maybe only one of them) may also be scheduling an in-person interview with the likes of Rob Pelinka, Kurt Rambis, Jeanie Buss, Jesse Buss, and Joey Buss and the others that run the Los Angeles Lakers (Phil Jackson not included since he has no official title other than “advisor to Jeanie”).
The contrast between the careers of Ham and Stotts is interesting, as Stotts would fit more in the mold of a candidate who already has head coaching experience, something that has been reported as a desire of the Lakers’ front office. Stotts is more offensive-minded, while Ham has been reported as the defensive assistant for the Bucks who have been one of the best defensive teams in the league during his time there. Ham does not have any head coaching experience like Stotts, but he doesn’t have experience in winning a championship with the Bucks last season as well as experience in winning a ring as a player with the Pistons in 2004 when they beat hte Lakers.
We’ll see what further updates we get.