The Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets are the only two NBA teams currently without a head coach, although neither organization seems to be in a rush to hire someone.
Both the Lakers and Hornets have interviewed the same set of candidates, with a few exceptions, and it seems that some are starting to emerge as favorites for each.
For the Hornets, it seems to be coming down to Mike D’Antoni, Kenny Atkinson or Darvin Ham.
The Lakers are also known to have interest in Ham, so if he is someone they are seriously considering, then the interest from the Hornets is something they will have to take into account.
After reportedly interviewing 8-10 candidates, it looks like the Lakers are ready to move on to the next part of their process.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers are beginning to bring in finalists for second interviews and Ham and Terry Stotts are among those that have made the cut:
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
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Atkinson is also a finalist for the Lakers job:
Sources: Finalists for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job: Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. Next stage of interviews are expected to take place in-person in Los Angeles.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 20, 2022
Ham and Stotts could not be more different candidates, so it is interesting to see that they are two of the finalists.
Stotts has past head coaching experience with the Portland Trail Blazers and is known to be an offensive-minded coach, while Ham has only been an assistant and is known more for his defense. Ham does have familiarity with the Lakers organization though having previously been an assistant under Mike Brown.
Atkinson falls into the same category as Stotts as someone with past head coaching experience with the Brooklyn Nets.
Perhaps the Lakers are looking to pair two of these candidates, bringing in Ham as head coach with Stotts or Atkinson as his lead assistant. If that is the case then that could be the makings of an exceptional coaching staff, although it obviously remains to be seen if that’s what the Lakers’ plans are.
Rob Pelinka has said that he hopes to have a new head coach in place by the draft at the end of June, so even though the Lakers are moving on to the next stages of their search, a hiring does not yet appear to be imminent.
Other candidates the Lakers interviewed
According to various reports, the other candidates the Lakers who are known to have interviewed include Charles Lee, Mark Jackson and Adrian Griffin.
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