Lakers Rumors: Darvin Ham Dismissed As Head Coach
Darvin Ham, Lakers, Thunder
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Lakers decided to part ways with a championship-winning head coach in Frank Vogel and replaced him with Darvin Ham, they put a lot of trust in a first-time head coach to guide them through the final years of LeBron James’ career.

Unfortunately, just like every other head coaching hire the organization has made since the departure of Phil Jackson in 2011 though, that trust seemed to be misplaced.

Ham’s two seasons at the helm were very similar with the team struggling early before finding their footing late going into the postseason. In both years though, the Lakers were not able to get over the hump, being defeated by the Nuggets in two series’ with only one win in nine games to show for it.

After the Lakers lost a heartbreaker in Game 5 to Denver this year, reports immediately surfaced that Ham was unlikely to return for the 2024-25 season despite having two years left on his contract. It appears that will be the case as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that Ham has been relieved of his duties:

This is a change that has been brewing for a while for the Lakers as reports surfaced throughout the course of this season that there was a disconnect between Ham and the players on the roster, including stars like James and Anthony Davis.

Ham was constantly shuffling lineups and rotations early in the season, which put the Lakers in a hole that they needed to climb out of. When he finally went to last year’s lineup including Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura alongside James and Davis, the team closed the season 19-6. Many feel that the Lakers would have had a higher seed and wouldn’t have needed to play Denver in the first round had Ham went to that lineup earlier in the year.

Regardless, the Lakers obviously feel that another change is needed at head coach, which means another search will be upcoming. With James’ future with the organization up in the air, it is imperative for them to get this hire right not only to keep him around, but also to give them another shot at a championship before the 39-year-old decides to call it a career.

Lakers willing to pay top dollar for next head coach?

One of the reasons the Lakers haven’t been able to find a long-term answer at head coach in recent years has been because of their reluctance to pay top dollar for the best options available.

That may be changing this time around though as reports indicate that the organization is still confident it can contend for a championship due to James and Davis’ play and are willing to pay whatever it takes to bring in the right coach to make that happen.

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