The Lakers have hired Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as the franchise’s new head coach, according to multiple reports.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ham interviewed formally for the job on Thursday and was offered the position with Los Angeles on Friday afternoon.
Wojnarowski added that Ham made a strong impression on the Lakers’ brass in several areas, including his championship pedigree, his commanding presence and his history of coaching stars. The expectation is that Ham is going to begin assembling a coaching staff that will include head coaching experience.
Ham will receive a four-year deal, per The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.
Ham now joins the Lakers to lead the franchise as a first time head coach. The 48-year-old has been a career assistant, and has previously been a coach in Los Angeles from 2011–’13.
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Ham has since been with the Hawks (2013-’18) and has spent the last four seasons with the Bucks, where he helped the franchise win an NBA title last season. Ham also won a championship in 2004 when he played for the Pistons, the highlight of an eight-season NBA career.
Ham will have his work cut out for him with the Lakers, who despite having a starting lineup that includes three future Hall-of-Famers in Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, went 33–49 and missed the playoffs under former coach Frank Vogel this season.
One of Ham’s first tests as coach will be finding a way to better integrate Westbrook on both ends of the floor. After being acquired via trade last offseason, Westbrook struggled to gel with James and Davis in his first season with the Lakers. His struggles as a new member of the roster, coupled with injuries to key members of the rotation, were seen as primary factors in the Lakers falling so short of expectations in 2021-’22.
While roster tweaks are certainly expected this offseason, the Lakers will look to turn the page and find a way to be more competitive next season. The hiring of Ham is the first step towards making that happen for the Lakers.
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