NBA: Los Angeles Lakers fire head coach Darvin Ham after two seasons

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers fire head coach Darvin Ham after two seasons

The Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) have fired head coach Darvin Ham, the 17-time champions announced on Friday night.

Ham, who became the Lakers’ head coach in 2022 after previously being an assistant in 2011, spent two seasons in Los Angeles as head coach, leading the team to the Western Conference playoff finals in 2023.

The 50-year-old replaced Frank Vogel, who was fired by the Lakers after exactly 18 months, leading the franchise to their record-tying 17th championship in 2020.

Ham led the Lakers to triumph in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, and he departs with a 99-86 win-loss record in both the regular season (90-74) and playoffs (9-12) in 185 total games.

The Lakers organization, through Rob Pelinka, their vice president of basketball operations and general manager, revealed the news of Ham’s dismissal in a post on their social media platform.

It read: “We greatly appreciate Darvin Ham’s efforts on behalf of the Lakers and recognize the many accomplishments achieved over the past two seasons including last year’s remarkable run to the Western Conference finals.”

“We all want to thank Darvin for this dedication and positivity. While this was a difficult decision to make, it is the best course of action following a full review of the season. The organization will remain unwavering in its commitment to deliver championship-caliber basketball to Lakers fans around the world.”

In the two seasons under Ham, the Lakers needed the play-in tournament to get into the playoffs. He led them to a 47-35 record in the regular season this campaign before they saw off the New Orleans Pelicans to clinch the seventh seed in the West.

However, the Lakers were handed a gentleman sweep in the first round of the Western Conference playoff this season, losing the series 4-1 to defending champions the Denver Nuggets, who also swept them in the West finals last season.

Ham was criticized all season for his selections and in-game rotation, with All-Star forward-center Anthony Davis questioning the team’s game plan and direction after their Game 2 loss to Denver.

“Just got to focus on Game 3. We’ve shown that we’re more than capable. We’ve also had stretches where we don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor. And those are the ones that cost us. We got two days to get it right and be ready to win Game 3 on Thursday,” Davis said

Davis and four-time NBA champion LeBron James both reserve player options for the incoming 2024–25 season, which they must use by June 29.

The two superstars, who have a combined 29 All-Star selection between them, have failed to lead the Lakers to victory in a playoff round in three of their four seasons since winning the 2020 championship in the bubble.

Ham departs the Lakers despite having two years left on his contract, and the franchise will look to hire a new head coach, their fourth since 2018. The new coach will also be the Lakers’ eighth in 14 seasons since Hall of Famer Phil Jackson’s departure in 2011.

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