Darvin Ham Hired As Lakers Head Coach

By Terrance Turner

May 27, 2022

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Darvin Ham as head coach, sources told ESPN. Ham has agreed to a four-year deal to become the next Lakers coach.

Ham separated himself in the process in recent days, interviewing with Lakers officials Thursday and inspiring an offer Friday afternoon, sources said. The Lakers were sold on Ham’s stature and toughness, his history of coaching star players, championship pedigree as an assistant and player, sources said.

Ham’s history with the Lakers franchise for two seasons played a part in his hiring, too. Ham began his NBA coaching career with the Lakers as a player development coach in 2011, on the staff of coach Mike Brown. He remained on the staff for two years. In 2013, Ham became an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks, according to a press release from the team that year. He worked under then-head coach Mike Budenholzer for several years.

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In 2018, he followed Budenholzer to the Milwaukee Bucks, where the two found major success. Budenholzer was named NBA Coach of the Year for the 2019-2020 season after helping the Bucks to their best record since 1972. Powered by the high-scoring trio of Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ham and Budenholzer won an NBA championship together in 2021. It was the first NBA title for the Bucks since 1970.

Ham, a small forward in his playing days, played in the NBA for eight seasons from 1996 to 2005. He played with the Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, and Milwaukee Bucks during his career. Ham won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004, according to the Los Angeles Times. (Ironically, the Pistons beat the Lakers that year to win the title.)

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The Lakers make Ham a first-time head coach after parting with head coach Frank Vogel. After leading the Lakers to pandemic-era championship in 2020, Vogel struggled to lead the team through seasons plagued by injuries. It culminated with a 49-loss season in 2021, during which the Lakers were never more than three games over .500 and in which Vogel used 40 starting lineups. Vogel was fired last month.

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