Last offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers made big changes, bringing in Darvin Ham to replace championship-winning head coach Frank Vogel.
The Lakers felt they needed a new voice after missing the postseason in 2022, and although Ham got off to a rough 2-10 start, L.A. eventually found its way and made it back to the Western Conference Finals in 2023.
When the Lakers hired Ham, one of the luxuries they gave him that they did not afford Vogel was the ability to pick his own coaching staff. With that, Ham brought in an entirely new staff with only two holdovers from Vogel’s regime in Phil Handy and Jon Pastorek.
Both coaches are known for their player development and have brought a lot to the organization over the years. Pastorek, in particular, was a holdover from Luke Walton’s staff as well and has been with the organization since 2017.
It appears that time is coming to an end though as Dan Woike of the L.A. Times reported that Pastorek will be leaving the Lakers to join Vogel’s staff after he was hired by the Phoenix Suns:
Lakers assistant Jon Pastorek will be joining Frank Vogel’s staff in Phoenix, sources tell the @latimes. Pastorek has worked for the Lakers since 2017, a valued bridge between Luke Walton, Vogel and Darvin Ham’s tenures. He won a title on Vogel’s staff.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 17, 2023
Pastorek is no longer listed on the Lakers coaching staff on the team website, so it appears this is something that they have known for a while. There was some talks about Handy potentially joining Vogel as well, but he is still listed on the Lakers website so it appears that he will be staying on Ham’s staff, which is great news for L.A.
Ham will now have an opening on his staff though and Pastorek will not be easy to replace as the Swiss Army knife of the staff. He was a behind-the-bench coach, but his height and player development-ability allowed him to specifically work with the big men in the organization like Anthony Davis, which won’t be easy to replicate.
Could Rasheed Wallace be potential replacement?
When Ham was putting his staff together last summer, one name that kept popping up was Rasheed Wallace due to this history together playing on the Detroit Pistons.
Ham ultimately chose not to include Wallace on his staff, but now that they have an opening and need someone that can work with big men, perhaps the Lakers circle back and try to add the former four-time All-Star to their program.
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