“The most interesting thing I’ve heard while we wait for Ham’s official introduction is that, according to the latest buzz in league coaching circles, Michigan’s Juwan Howard was the Lakers’ preferred candidate among the various coaches to whom they were linked who were under contract elsewhere and thus ultimately unavailable — ahead of Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Utah’s Quin Snyder,” Stein wrote.
“The Lakers, I’m told, made such strong overtures to Howard that the implication was clear: The job was his if he wanted it.”
Los Angeles clearly believed in Howard’s coaching ability, but he opted to remain at his alma mater rather than make the jump to become an NBA head coach.
In his three seasons at Michigan, Howard has compiled a 61-32 record and was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in the 2020-21 season.
Howard used to be teammates with Lakers star LeBron James during James’ time with the Miami Heat. It would have been interesting to see how the two would’ve meshed with Howard running the show.
Michigan took a bit of a step back last season, but the Wolverines still beat Colorado State University and the University of Tennessee in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines were eventually eliminated by Villanova University in the Sweet 16.
Now, the Lakers are all in on Ham leading the franchise back to the playoffs in the 2022-23 season. Ham was an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks for the last four seasons and should bring a new dynamic to the Lakers next season.