Woj: Darvin Ham On Hot Seat If Lakers Lose In Five Games

Appearing on NBA Countdown prior to Saturday’s Game 4 between the Nuggets and Lakers, which Los Angeles won to stave off elimination and end an 11-game losing streak to the defending champions, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said head coach Darvin Ham will likely find himself on the hot seat if the Lakers lose the series in five games (YouTube link).

If you are a head coach of the Lakers and you get swept in the first round of the playoffs, or you lose in five, you’ve got job issues. You’ve got job security issues,” Wojnarowski said. “And Darvin Ham will have that.

As Wojnarowski noted, the Lakers advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 2022/23, which was Ham’s first year on the job. And they actually won more regular season games this season (47) than last season (43) despite missing Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) and Gabe Vincent (knee) for most of the ’23/24 campaign.

There’s also a question of who would replace Ham if the Lakers let him go. Former Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is “the most accomplished” name on the open market, but he’s also rumored to be looking for a salary that the Lakers might not be willing to pay, Wojnarowski added.

While Wojnarowski questioned how “fair” it would be for Ham to be fired if the Lakers lose to the Nuggets in five games, he said “it is part of the conversation the Lakers are going to have.”

Game 5 of the first-round series between the West’s No. 2 and 7 seeds will be played on Monday in Denver.

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