The Los Angeles Lakers have finally found their coach.
According to multiple reports, the Lakers have hired Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham on a four-year contract.
Ham is a former player who won a championship against the lakers in 2004 when he was a member of the Detroit Pistons.
Ham has no prior head-coaching experience, but started with the Lakers as an assistant coach working with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard from 2011 to 2013.
Ham was reportedly one of three finalists for the job, after Frank Vogel was let go following the most disappointing season in franchise history.
In addition to Ham, former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, and former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson were also finalists. Stotts interviewed with the Lakers in person earlier this week, and Ham reportedly met with the Lakers on Thursday. Ham must have won over his former colleagues in the organization, because he was reportedly offered the job less than 24 hours later. It is unknown if Atkinson met with the Lakers in person as he is currently an assistant for the Golden State Warriors, who are headed back to the NBA Finals.
After his coaching stint with the Lakers, Ham joined Mike Budenholzer’s staff in Atlanta and followed the coach to Milwaukee. He won a championship with the Bucks as an assistant in 2021.
Despite his championship pedigree as a coach, which the Lakers reportedly liked, but had with Vogel, Ham will have his work cut out for him in his first year on the sidelines.
The Lakers finished with a 33-49 record last season finishing a horrific 11th place in the Western Conference and missing out on the playoffs entirely.
The team assembled a superstar trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook in the offseason and the weight of heavy expectations soon followed. However, Davis was injured for most of the season, James was in and out of the lineup as well, and Westbrook never found his groove.
There were reports that the Lakers were asking all of their coaching candidates how they would handle Westbrook next season, but if the former MVP and triple-double machine couldn’t work under a championship caliber coach like Vogel, it would be difficult to see him suddenly fitting in with Ham.
That means Ham, his new coaching staff, and the Lakers front office will have to decide what to do with Westbrook and the rest of the roster moving forward.
As for the Lakers fans that were expecting a big name hire like Nick Nurse, Quinn Snyder, or Doc Rivers? That didn’t happen, but on the bright side, the last time LeBron James had a first-year head coach, they went on to win the NBA Championship.