Last week, it was reported that the Los Angeles Lakers had narrowed their head coach search to three finalists: Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, and current Golden State Warriors assistant (former Brooklyn Nets head coach) Kenny Atkinson. It was reported earlier in the week that the Lakers had conducted an in-person interview with Terry Stotts, however, they won’t be going with him.
It’s now been reported (first by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and then The Athletic’s Shams Charania) that the Lakers will be hiring Darvin Ham to be the new head coach of their team. Ham will be given a four-year deal.
The Lakers have hired Darvin Ham as coach, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 28, 2022
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers are hiring Bucks assistant Darvin Ham on a four-year contract.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 28, 2022
It seems as if the Lakers had known pretty early on last week that Ham was their guy, as Wojnarowski also reports that Ham’s in-person interview was today with a formal offer coming right after. This isn’t surprising considering the previous reports that Ham had separated himself from the pack as the favorite as well as another report that stated that LeBron James liked him the most out of the candidates.
Although it’s been sort of expected over the past week, the move from the Lakers is still a bit surprising. It’s been rumored that the team wanted someone with a strong history of leadership combined with just general head coaching experience. This seemed in line with candidates like Stotts, Atkinson, as well as the heavily rumored Doc Rivers who indeed stick with the Philadelphia 76ers next season. Ham comes in with zero head coaching experience. Also of note is the length of the deal. Tyronn Lue infamously abandoned his candidacy with the Lakers in 2019 due to the team low-balling him with a three-year offer, a deal short of normal deals of five-years for head coaches of his pedigree. Frank Vogel later took a three-year deal with the team.
Darvin Ham does come to the Lakers as very highly-regarded around the league, recently winning a championship last year with the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s been known that Ham is a heavy reason for the stout and impressive defense the Bucks have had since he arrived in 2018 with that defense spearheaded by Giannis Antetokounmpo. He gets a new defensive weapon in the form of Anthony Davis.
Ham also won a championship as a player in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons (against the Lakers). He played eight seasons in the NBA and started his coaching career with an assistant gig under Mike Brown on the Lakers from 2011-2013.
Welcome, Darvin Ham! Let’s go win a championship!