Report: Lakers’ last 2 coaches weren’t player-led hires

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ decisions to hire Frank Vogel and Darvin Ham as their last two head coaches were not player-driven decisions, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“You look back at the last couple hires with the Lakers, those weren’t player-led hires,” Wojnarowski said. “Frank Vogel, Darvin Ham, the organization hired those coaches.”

Los Angeles fired Ham after the Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs in the 2023-24 season by the Denver Nuggets. Ham had signed a four-year pact with Los Angeles prior to the 2022-23 season, but he lasted just two seasons with the team.

During his time as the Lakers’ head coach, Ham has compiled a 90-74 record in the regular season and a 9-12 mark in the playoffs. Los Angeles earned the No. 7 seed in the West (by way of the play-in tournament) in both seasons under Ham.

However, the Lakers are just 1-8 in their last two playoff series, as they struggled to compete with the Nuggets in back-to-back seasons. In addition to winning this season’s first-round series in five games, Denver swept the Lakers last season in the Western Conference Finals.

Wojnarowski’s report goes to show that superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis were not the reasons why Los Angeles made the head coaching moves that it did over the last few seasons.

Vogel, who won a title with the Lakers in the 2019-20 season, was let go following the 2021-22 season when Los Angeles failed to make the playoffs. Vogel ended up taking over the Phoenix Suns in the 2023-24 season, but he lasted just one season before getting fired after Phoenix was swept in the first round of the playoffs.

James, who came to the Lakers in the 2018-19 season, has now played for Luke Walton, Vogel and Ham in his six seasons with the franchise.

It’ll be interesting to see the route the Lakers take when it comes to their next head coach.The team was recently linked to Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Sean Sweeney.

With James potentially entering free agency this offseason (he could decline his player option), Los Angeles may want to make sure it hires a coach that he wants to play for in order to keep him with the franchise.

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer is nearing the end of his career, so it would make sense for the Lakers to do anything they can to maximize whatever basketball he has left.

Share This Article
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.