The Los Angeles Lakers formally introduced new head coach Darvin Ham on Monday, ushering in what is hopefully a fresh, exciting, and successful era of basketball for the purple-and-gold. However, there’s going to have to be a lot of work from all parties of the organization to get there, whether it’s ownership, the front office, the scouting team, or what will be Ham’s coaching staff, everyone has their work cut out for them this summer to bring the Lakers back to the top where they want to be.
The former three of those four groups is set, but what about Ham’s coaching staff? Rumors and news surrounding that staff have been trickling in lately, and in this piece, we will continuously be updating it with those rumors and news until the staff is fully formed.
Phil Handy, Quinton Crawford to be holdovers from Frank Vogel’s staff
We have our first two reported members of Darvin Ham’s staff, as assistant coach Phil Handy and assistant coach/video coordinator Quinton Crawford will be kept on the Lakers staff by Darvin Ham. The two served under Frank Vogel during his three seasons with the team. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes first reported the news about Phil Handy, which was combined with the ESPN report that David Fizdale, Mike Penberthy, and John Lucas III would be relieved of their duties.
ESPN story with @mcten on Lakers coach Darvin Ham letting go of several assistant coaches, keeping Phil Handy and Quinton Crawford on new staff: https://t.co/5iu3zk2m7A
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 7, 2022
Handy is extremely notable here. He had recently done an interview where he was talking about how desperately he wanted to be a head coach, but with only the Hornets position remaining open at this time with no interviews being set up for him there, Handy has decided to return to LeBron James and the rest of the Lakers. With this, Handy may be getting a bit of an official “lead assistant” role to further bolster his resume for later head coaching opportunities, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
This lines up with previous reports that Darvin Ham would have “full autonomy” to pick his staff, a courtesy that was not afforded to Frank Vogel.
Rasheed Wallace possibly joining the staff?
Before Ham’s introductory press conference could even kick off, rumors were swirling on a headlining potential addition to his staff in one Rasheed Wallace.
It all started when Memphis News’ Jason Munz reported the following quote from Memphis head basketball coach Penny Hardaway. Wallace has most recently been on Hardaway’s staff:
I asked Penny Hardaway this morning about Rasheed Wallace’s status. He said Rasheed is likely headed to LA to be part of Darvin Ham’s staff.
— Jason Munz (@munzly) June 6, 2022
The Athletic’s Shams Charania then reported that the Lakers and Wallance had agreed upon a deal, quickly walking that back by saying he has been “identified as a candidate” but that they hadn’t “reached a formal contract stage” yet.
For further context: Wallace was recently identified as a candidate for Ham’s staff. The two sides have not yet reached a formal contract stage. https://t.co/IPlsixreVL
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 6, 2022
Naturally, Ham and Rob Pelinka were asked about this hours later at the press conference. Ham had this to say (reported and transcribed by Jacob Rude of Silver Screen & Roll):
“In regards to Rasheed, that’s an active situation that’s fluid,” Ham said. “We’re still working through that. That’s not true at all. He’s definitely a candidate that we’ll take a look at but we’re working through that. We have a list of names and some people that’s currently under contract. We’re working with some really talented, talented young coaches. We’re working through that to put together the best staff possible.”
As Shams notes above, Rasheed Wallace and Darvin Ham won a championship together as players, beating the very same Lakers in 2004 while both were on the Detroit Pistons. That was the infamous Lakers team including Gary Payton and Karl Malone.
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