The Los Angeles Lakers finally found their new head coach in the former Milwaukee Bucks assistant, Darvin Ham. The 48-year-old was hired after calling him in for the final round of the interview process. The Lakers front office was impressed with Ham and offered him a four-year deal, which the coach accepted immediately. Darvin will replace Frank Vogel after the 2020 championship-winning coach was fired at the end of the regular season as a result of a 33-49 record in the 2021-22 season.
Ham played a crucial role in helping the buck win their 17th division title in 2022. Darvin is expected to bring his toughness and accountability to the franchise and help the Lakers get back in the championship hunt next season. Ham was among the final three candidates, including Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson, for the head coach’s position and managed to acquire it. However, the biggest challenge for Darvin Ham would be to create a championship-winning roster with no clarity over the future of Russell Westbrook. The Lakers point guard failed to make a year during his first year. And there was a clear lack of chemistry between him, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.
Further, reports suggest that the most commonly asked question during the coaching interview was how the candidate would use Westbrook. And Ham would have had to present a well-thought plan to secure the position. Moreover, Westbrook also shared a story on Instagram, which suggests that he might be happy with the team’s decision to hire Ham. The post is quite surprising as Russell clearly had problems with Frank Vogel last season. The nine-time All-Star stated publically that he and Vogel did not see eye-to-eye. And such distractions make it hard for teams to perform well consistently.
Westbrook Most Likely To Stay At The Lakers
Russell’s performance last season has really depreciated his value in the trading market. Not many teams are willing to get involved in a player who has a $47 million player option available this year. And the 2017 NBA MVP will most likely take the option.
Moreover, the teams who are willing to trade Westbrook have demanded a first draft pick for 2026. And the Lakers are unwilling to give up. Hence it seems like Westbrook will likely stay with the Lakers for the upcoming season. Thus, Ham will have a massive job in his hand to use Russell well and devise a strategy that will increase an impact on the game without hindering Anthony Davis and LeBron James‘ game.