As the Los Angeles Lakers continue with their head coaching search, they appear to be entering the final stages.
It was reported on Friday morning that the organization had narrowed it down to three candidates for final interviews, which will take place in L.A. this coming week.
After interviewing six total candidates, the Lakers are expected to bring back Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson for a second round of interviews.
As far as who from that bunch is the favorite though, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic are reporting that Ham is beginning to emerge from the pack:
The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end. But as the final round of interviews is set, sources tell The Athletic that Ham appears to have made the strongest impression yet.
Ham has been an assistant in the NBA for a long time now, including a stint with the Lakers. The current Milwaukee Bucks assistant seems to command respect from players as a former player himself, which is why the Lakers have been so impressed with him so far:
In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.
If the Lakers go with a first-time head coach like Ham then it’s possible that they try to pair him with a former head coach like Stotts or Atkinson as a lead assistant.
So even if the Lakers already know they’re gonna hire Ham, it makes sense to bring both Stotts and Atkinson in for another interview to continue to get to know them.
Ham also a finalist for Hornets job
If the Lakers do indeed want to hire Ham then they may need to act quick as he is also reportedly a finalist for the Charlotte Hornets job.
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