Report: Lakers hire Ham as coach over Warriors' Atkinson


The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are hiring Darvin Ham as their next head coach, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, citing sources. 

Current Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson reportedly was a finalist for the Lakers job.

The news comes a month and a half after the organization fired Frank Vogel immediately at the conclusion of the 2021-22 NBA season. Vogel spent three seasons with the Lakers, winning an NBA championship in his first year. 

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported, citing sources, that Ham's deal is for four years. 

Ham, who was previously an assistant coach with the Lakers from 2011-2013, is assuming a roster with major question marks and a fanbase desperate to avoid the events of this past season’s meltdown. He recently served as assistant coach of the Milwaukee Bucks from 2018-2022, which included a championship in the 2021 campaign. 

After going undrafted out of Texas Tech, Ham signed with the Denver Nuggets ahead of the 1996-97 season. He spent the next 12 seasons bouncing between the NBA and league affiliates, in addition to two stops abroad. As a player, he won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, beating the Lakers four-games-to-one.

The Lakers -- loaded with the All-Star trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the newest addition, Russell Westbrook -- opened the 2021-22 season with the second-best chances to win the NBA championship, trailing only the Brooklyn Nets. 

They struggled to adjust to the added star power early in the season but managed to hover around a playoff position. Everything came crumbling down out of the All-Star break, however. Los Angeles lost 18 of its final 24 games and found itself on the outside looking in as the 11th seed of the Western Conference. 

James and Westbrook each have one year left on their respective contracts, with Westbrook’s featuring a $47 million player option should he choose to exercise it. With all three All-Stars due to make over $37 million next year, the Lakers are limited in exploring bench options under the current roster. 

James shared his reaction to the news on Twitter, expressing approval with the new hire.

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