Lakers Hire Darvin Ham As New Head Coach

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Darvin Ham looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. The former Milwaukee Bucks assistant will be head coach of the Lakers.
Darvin Ham looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. The former Milwaukee Bucks assistant will be head coach of the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Darvin Ham, a former NBA role player and current assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, to be the next head coach of the storied franchise. The hire was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ham, who won a title last season with the Bucks, was among the three coaches reported to have gotten second interviews with the team, which fired former head coach Frank Vogel last month. The other two were Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. Ham emerged as the winner and now has a big task ahead of him: to lead the most decorated team in NBA history back to glory as it appears to be in shambles, and to do it before its aging superstar LeBron James hangs ‘em up.

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The Lakers fired Vogel following a disappointing campaign in which the squad went 33-49 and finished 11th in the NBA’s Western Conference. The organization built a team around James that included superstars still in their prime in Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis, along with other aging legends in Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony. But the team never jelled, with James and Davis often hobbled by injury on their way to missing the playoffs.

The Lakers are only two seasons removed from their last chip, when they won it all in the playoff “bubble” of the pandemic-shortened seas2019-20 campaign. But that was James’ only title since winning one with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, and the Lakers’ only one since the late Kobe Bryant led them to one in 2010. The idea behind acquiring James was for both he and the Lakers to win multiple championships in what may be his last NBA stop before retirement, a goal that hasn’t come to pass.