Lakers Rumors: Head Coaching Search Ended Without Speaking With Kenny Atkinson After Darvin Ham’s Interview
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers got their new head coach in Darvin Ham after an extensive search that lasted nearly two months.

After the hiring, LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks stars, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, congratulated Ham on his major career move even though the Lakers haven’t yet officially confirmed his signing. Ham reportedly made a huge impression on L.A. during the interviewing process thanks to his commanding voice and the ability to connect with players.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ham’s final interview went so well the Lakers decided to hire him without speaking to all three of the finalists for the job:

The Lakers conducted interviews with two of the three finalists this week — Ham and Terry Stotts, sources said. After the Ham interview, the franchise leaders knew they had their coach.

All three men were also in the running for the head coaching position at the Charlotte Hornets, perhaps putting some pressure on the Lakers to secure Ham’s services quickly.

The former Bucks assistant signed a four-year contract with L.A., earning the first gig as head coach of his career. Ham spent the last nine years working for the Atlanta Hawks and the Bucks under Mike Budenholzer, winning the NBA championship with Milwaukee last year.

He reunites with the Purple and Gold after serving as the team’s assistant between 2011-2013 in his first job in the NBA.

Ham expected to have ‘large amount of autonomy’ to pick coaching staff

Ham will reportedly meet with David Fizdale, Phil Handy, Mike Penberthy and other current members of the Lakers coaching staff next week. However, he is expected to have a “large amount of autonomy” that will allow him to choose his own assistants.

Reports also claimed Ham will want to have someone with a previous head coaching experience in his coaching staff — suggesting Fizdale could remain with the Lakers, as he has worked as head coach for the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks in the past.

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