Lakers insider starting to ‘hear some names’ regarding potential Darvin Ham replacements

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers could move on from head coach Darvin Ham this week, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.

On The Athletic NBA Show, Buha also shared that he has “started to hear some names” for the Lakers’ next head coach with Ham’s job hanging in the balance.

“The latest I’ve heard is the plan is still to move on from Darvin at some point, likely by the end of the week – potentially as early as tomorrow – then the head coaching search will start,” Buha said. “I’ve already started to hear some names from different people.”

In two seasons as the Lakers’ head coach, Ham has compiled a 90-74 record in the regular season and 9-12 mark in the playoffs. However, Los Angeles was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs this season in just five games.

Los Angeles’ struggles against the Denver Nuggets, who have eliminated them in back-to-back postseasons, are also extremely concerning. It is just 1-8 in its last two playoff series against Denver, and Ham was unable to find an adjustment to help his team stay alive this season or last.

With LeBron James potentially testing free agency this coming offseason, the Lakers may be looking to bring in a coach that can maximize the end of James’ legendary career if he returns to Los Angeles.

While the Lakers did make the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, they had to do it by way of the play-in tournament, which really hurt the team this season.

Had the Lakers been able to avoid the play-in this season, they would not have had to face Denver – the No. 2 seed – in the first round of the playoffs.

Ham could be partially to blame for that, as one scout questioned why he waited as long as he did to play last season’s core group together during the 2023-24 season.

The Lakers did deal with injuries to key players like Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt, Christian Wood and Cam Reddish, but both James and Anthony Davis were relatively healthy for most of the 2023-24 season. However, the Lakers still couldn’t advance past the first round.

Ham still has two seasons left on his contract after he agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers prior to the 2022-23 season to replace former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.