The Los Angeles Lakers are hiring Darwin Ham as head coach, several sources confirmed to Athletic. Los Angeles fired former coach Frank Vogel on April 11, the day after the regular season ended.
Ham, 48, has been on the staff with Bucks as Mike Budenholzer’s assistant since 2018, winning his first NBA championship as coach in the 2020-21 season. He returned to Los Angeles after working as an assistant with the Lakers from 2011 to 2013. Ham also worked as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks from 2013 to 2018.
“Very excited !!!!!!!!” LeBron James wrote on Twitter. “Congratulations and welcome coach DHam !!”
Ham’s playing career spanned from 1996 to 2005. Ham also won the 2004 NBA Championship, coming on the bench for the Detroit Pistons.
Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stots were in the running for the job. The Lakers (33-49) finished 11th in the Western Conference, failing in the playoffs.
Hall of Famer and former Lakers vice-president Magic Johnson said Monday they want to appoint the former player as the Lakers’ next coach.
“There are probably three other former players in the final four, in addition to Eric Spoelstra,” he told Athletic. “So I think it says a lot about these young ex-players who are immediately respected, who have done it before. I’m not saying he should be a former player, but I’m saying you have to see what’s going on.
“But the most important thing to me is responsibility. They should hold everyone, one to 15, accountable. And we got away with it. The kids never talked about it this season. It was always someone’s fault. I hated it. Never,” Hey, I played badly. Hey, it’s up to me. ‘ Whether he is a former player or not, the trend is that of former players. But if not, I want a coach who will hold everyone accountable. And so, that’s what I want to see. “