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Los Angeles Lakers’ Likely Plan for Darvin Ham Revealed

Feb 25, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham with forward LeBron James (23) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to Los Angeles Lakers insider Anthony Irwin, the team will likely retain head coach Darvin Ham for next season.

In fact, in asking around the last couple weeks heading into the play-in and playoffs, most people I’ve spoken to believe Ham will be back.

Despite the Lakers ultimately making it to the playoffs, earning the No. 7 seed is rather disappointing for a team fresh off a Western Conference Finals appearance. Because of this, many questioned whether Ham would remain with the Lakers past this season. And as Irwin says, there are still a few members of the organization who want the team to fire Ham this offseason.

Again, many people internally think this is a bandaid worth ripping off, but those who will actually make the call have plenty of reason to find some excuse not to. How that dispute gets resolved will likely go a long way in deciding the direction of the organization not just this summer, but potentially for years to come.

In two seasons as the Lakers head coach, Ham has a 90-74 coaching record. This is the 14th-best record in the NBA during that stretch.

Los Angeles Lakers’ Likely Plan for Darvin Ham Revealed

Lakers Players Reportedly Wanted Ham Fired Earlier This Season

According to Ashish Mathur of Hoops Wire, some players on the Lakers wanted the team to fire Ham during the season. Furthermore, Mathur says they wanted the team to promote assistant coach Phil Handy to replace Ham.

A source told Hoops Wire that Lakers players wanted assistant coach Phil Handy to replace Ham earlier in the season. However, Los Angeles owner Jeanie Buss is a fan of Ham and she has never thought about firing him as coach, the source said.

Handy has won three championships as an assistant coach in his 11-year assistant coaching career. This includes winning twice with Lakers star LeBron James in 2016 and 2020. If the team decides to switch course and get rid of Ham, Handy will likely be a top candidate for the position.

Furthermore, in January, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on a “deepening disconnect” between Ham and his players.

There’s currently a deepening disconnect between Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room, six sources with direct knowledge of the situation say, raising questions about the head coach’s standing. The people spoke with The Athletic on condition of anonymity so that they could speak freely on the matter. Those sources have described that the disjointedness between the coach and team has stemmed from the extreme rotation and starting lineup adjustments recently from Ham, leading to a fluctuating rhythm for several players across the roster.

The Last Word on Darvin Ham

Currently, the Lakers are focused on their first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. The team lost Game 1 by a score of 114-103. After the loss, Ham mentioned offensive rebounding as the area the Lakers need to improve in the most. The team must make these adjustments to avoid going down 0-2 to begin the series. Their next matchup against the reigning champions is tonight at 10 PM EST.


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