Los Angeles Lakers Announce Firing of Head Coach Darvin Ham

The Los Angeles Lakers parted ways with head coach Darvin Ham on Friday, concluding his two-year run at the helm. This unexpected move throws the spotlight on the Lakers’s quest for a new leader, one who can navigate LeBron James’s twilight years and shepherd the team back to championship glory.

Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka wrote in a statement posted by the Lakers account on X: “While this was a difficult decision to make, it is the best course of action following a full review of the season.” While acknowledging Mr. Ham’s contributions, Mr. Pelinka emphasized the organization’s unwavering commitment to championship-caliber basketball.

Despite having two years remaining on his contract, Mr. Ham’s tenure ended with a .549 regular-season winning percentage and a .429 playoff win rate (excluding play-in wins). He secured a noteworthy in-season tournament victory in Las Vegas last December, but couldn’t replicate the feat in the postseason.

This decision follows the Lakers’s consecutive playoff exits at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. Last year, it was a sweep in the Conference Finals. This season, a first-round defeat came after blowing multiple double-digit leads, including a heartbreaking 20-point advantage in Game 2.

Even with a combined 71 games from LeBron James and 76 from Anthony Davis (their highest since joining forces), the Lakers could only manage the seventh seed in the competitive Western Conference.

Mr. Ham’s tenure mirrored a rollercoaster ride. He inherited a team reeling from a disappointing 2021–22 season (33-49 record) and a missed playoff appearance. He navigated a rocky start (2-10), a midseason roster overhaul (Russell Westbrook out, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Rui Hachimura in), and a play-in tournament victory, ultimately falling short against the eventual champion Nuggets.

The 2023–24 season brought similar challenges. The Lakers’s season started with a rocky patch, only securing three wins in their first eight games. This early stumble sparked worry among fans and analysts. However, the team displayed resilience, with a midseason turnaround that propelled them to the crucial seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Unfortunately, their postseason journey ended against the Denver Nuggets, with the Nuggets emerging victorious in the five-game series.

The search for Mr. Ham’s successor is now underway. The new coach will face the daunting task of maximizing LeBron James’s remaining years while building a team capable of dethroning the dominant Denver Nuggets and reclaiming Lakers glory.

With an eight-year stint as an agile forward in the NBA, Mr. Ham etched his mark, sealing a championship triumph with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. Venturing into coaching, he embarked on his NBA assistant coaching debut with the Lakers in 2011. Across nine seasons thereafter, Mr. Ham contributed as Mike Budenholzer’s assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks in 2013 and the Milwaukee  Bucks in 2018, grasping a second championship accolade with the Bucks in 2021.

From The Epoch Times

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