Lakers To Introduce New Coach

EL SEGUNDO (CNS) – The Los Angeles Lakers will introduce Darvin Ham as their new coach Monday, following general manager Rob Pelinka praising him for his character, approach and knowledge acquired from coaching three seasons in what is now the NBA G League and 11 in the NBA.

“When someone begins his NBA coaching career at the G League level and goes all the way through playing an integral role on the front bench of an NBA championship team, it really speaks to a certain strength of character,” Pelinka said in a statement Friday announcing that Ham had signed a multi-year contract to replace the fired Frank Vogel.

“Our players and fans will immediately identify with Darvin’s no- nonsense and hard-working approach, which we feel will bring toughness and a competitive edge to all we do. When you add that to Darvin’s sophisticated grasp of in-game strategy and deep knowledge of the game of basketball, we have the ideal coach for this next chapter in Lakers history.”

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who like Ham was raised in Saginaw, Michigan, echoed Pelinka’s prediction that Ham would “a toughness” to the Lakers.

“I think he’s going to bring a toughness, a blue-collar mentality just because that’s how he’s built,” Green told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s how he’s raised. You have to be that way from Saginaw.

“I think it’ll be a different toughness that they haven’t seen. And he’s going to command and require a different respect level that they haven’t really have had. … And I think that will bode well for that team.”

Ham’s hiring also drew praise from Laker star LeBron James, who tweeted “So damn EXCITED!!!!!!! Congrats and welcome Coach DHam!!” shortly after Ham’s hiring was reported May 27.

Terms of the contract and its length were not disclosed. ESPN, which was first to reported the hiring May 27, reported the contract was for four years.

The Times reported the Lakers met with former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, former NBA coach Mark Jackson, Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin before narrowing the search to Ham, Stotts and Atkinson.

Ham takes over a team that was 33-49 in the 2021-22 season, missing the playoffs two seasons after winning the NBA championship. James missed 24 games due to injuries while fellow all-star Anthony Davis missed 41 to injuries and one because of flu-like symptoms.

Ham began his coaching career in 2008 as an assistant with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League. He become the coach of the rebranded New Mexico Thunderbirds in 2010.

Ham began his NBA coaching career in 2011 as a Lakers’ assistant coach. He spent two years with the Lakers and was an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks for the following five seasons. Ham spent the past four seasons on the Milwaukee Bucks’ coaching staff, including helping guide them to the NBA championship in 2021.

Ham played eight seasons in the NBA and was a member of the Detroit Pistons team which defeated the Lakers to win the 2004 NBA championship. He played collegiately at Texas Tech, gaining fame for shattering a backboard with a dunk during the 1996 NCAA tournament, which made the cover of Sports Illustrated.

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