After being fired by the Lakers, what will happen to Darvin Ham?

The former head coach of Los Angeles is a free agent.

Former head coach Darvin Ham of the Los Angeles Lakers is once again a free agent following a largely successful two-year tenure with the team.


As of this writing, the Washington Wizards and the lottery-bound Charlotte Hornets have two head coaching positions that are not with the Los Angeles Lakers. Before everything is said and done, a couple more playoff teams may decide to fire their head coach. Frank Vogel, a former Los Angeles head coach who now coaches the Phoenix Suns, appears to be the most vulnerable after his team’s star-studded roster was swept in four games by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round.

Will Ham, who accepted the Lakers offer after serving as an NBA career coach, want to go back to work as soon as possible? He was let go on Friday, but he hasn’t been linked to the Hornets or Wizards positions yet. He apparently signed a four-year deal with Los Angeles, so even if he stays at home and/or makes the occasional appearance as a TV analyst, he will still get paid. He should have enough clout to get some media appearances because he is the head coach of the best team in the league, having led the team to a Western Conference Finals berth and a strong overall record of 90-74.

Prior to leading the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks to the 2021 title, Ham worked under longtime head coach Mike Budenholzer. It appears improbable that Ham would relish rejoining the Lakers as an assistant, especially because Budneholzer has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the position. Ham had previously worked for the Lakers under Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni. Currently, Brown is the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, L.A.’s bitter rivals in the Pacific Division. If Ham decides to accept a lead assistant position that has far lower stakes, it would be a nice fit.

Throughout his time in Los Angeles, he maximized forward Jarred Vanderbilt’s defense, helped steady inconsistent point guards Dennis Schröder and D’Angelo Russell, and helped develop Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura to breakout seasons in 2022–2023. Although he has faced criticism for some of the Lakers’ rotational and ATO choices, roster structure appears to have a greater role in the team’s inability to get past the first round than coaching. The Denver Nuggets were a buzzsaw of a team that was merely bigger, deeper, and younger than L.A. It is doubtful that a coach other than Erik Spoelstra could have led this specific Los Angeles team out of that situation.

Written by schooleiwa

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