Cam Reddish

Darvin Ham’s Position With Lakers In ‘Serious Peril’

Darvin Ham‘s position with the Lakers is in “serious peril” following the team’s elimination from the playoffs on Monday, according to Shams Charania, Jovan Buha, and Sam Amick of The Athletic. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin agrees, citing league sources who say that Ham’s head coaching job is “very much in jeopardy.”

The Athletic’s reporters and McMenamin both say that the Lakers will take a few days to review the situation and assess what went wrong this season before making a decision on Ham’s future.

Although the Lakers finished with more regular season wins (47) than they did a year ago when they made the conference finals (43), there was a sense that this year’s team lacked an “effective direction” from the coaching staff at times, per The Athletic, and there were people within the organization confused by the way that Ham used his starting lineup and rotation over the course of the season.

As both The Athletic and McMenamin detail, Ham used a series of starting groups earlier in 2023/24 that frequently featured players like Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish, often at the expense of players that the franchise viewed more as part of its core, such as Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell.

There was a sense that Prince and Reddish were given opportunities to play through their mistakes that Reaves, Hachimura, Russell, and others weren’t, per The Athletic, and some team sources suggested to ESPN that the Lakers would have finished with a better record – and a higher playoff seed – if they had stuck to a starting lineup of Reaves, Hachimura, and Russell alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis earlier in the season.

“The job of a coach is to make the best out of what you have,” a team source told McMenamin. “And he wasn’t doing that.”

Reporting from both The Athletic and ESPN also pointed to Ham’s response to a post-Game 2 comment from Davis (“We have stretches where we just don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor”) as troubling. Rather than downplay – or even agree with – Davis’ comment, Ham took exception, praising his coaching staff and telling reporters that he would “agree to disagree” with his star big man.

Team sources told The Athletic that Ham’s rebuttal unnecessarily amplified Davis’ initial comment and questioned whether engaging in a back-and-forth with one of the franchise’s cornerstones was a good idea. A club source who spoke to McMenamin, meanwhile, was “confounded” by Ham’s lack of accountability and questioned the wisdom of praising the preparedness of his staff after the Nuggets had run their winning streak vs. the Lakers to 10 games.

According to The Athletic, the contract Ham signed in 2022 was a four-year deal worth approximately $5MM per season, so there are still two seasons left on it. If they make a coaching change, the Lakers would eat the remainder of that contract.

Pacific Notes; Lue, Monk, Lyles, Vezenkov, LeBron, Davis, Vincent

Tyronn Lue called his team soft after a 3-6 stretch late last month. The Clippers got the message, reeling off three consecutive victories for the first time since early February, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. They’ve defeated Philadelphia, Orlando and Charlotte during the winning streak.

The Clippers will finish off a four-game road swing at Sacramento on Tuesday. “Getting a win however you’ve got to get it is the most important thing, but we’ve still got a lot to build on and get better with,” Lue said. “We’ll take the win. The Philly and the Orlando games were two good games that we needed – two gritty wins, tough wins on the road. And then (Sunday), just sticking with it even though we didn’t do a good job defensively.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings coach Mike Brown said they’ll use a committee approach to replace Malik Monk, who is sidelined with an MCL sprain. “You can’t replace Malik,” Brown said, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “That’s tough. He did a lot for us and he could easily start for a lot of teams, but he was on the floor a lot of times down the stretch in our games, so to think that one person is going to come in and replace him, it’s not possible, so we have to do it by committee. It’s just the next guy up, and if your number is called, you have to go play within what you do and play your role as best you can.”
  • On the flip side, forwards Trey Lyles and Sasha Vezenkov were back in action for the Kings during Saturday’s win over Utah, Anderson notes. Lyles, who hadn’t played since March 12 due to a left knee sprain, had 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. Vezenkov, who missed 22 games with a Grade 3 right ankle sprain, added five points, two rebounds, one assist and two steals in 10 minutes. “The size just helps especially on the glass, and both those guys, whether they come up with it or not, they’re battling,” Brown said. “They’re hitting bodies. They’re guys who are both used to taking big shots. They both are really, really good 3-point shooters. You’ve got to guard them outside that line, so it opens up the floor a little bit more for everybody else. “
  • Anthony Davis (left knee) and LeBron James (left ankle) are listed by the Lakers as questionable to play against Toronto on Tuesday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Jarred Vanderbilt (foot sprain) and Cam Reddish (personal reasons) will miss the game, as will Gabe Vincent (left knee injury recovery). Vincent returned to action on Sunday after being sidelined for over three months due to knee surgery and had two points in 14 minutes against Brooklyn.

Lakers Notes: Vanderbilt, Hachimura, Wood, Prince, Reddish, Offense

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has tinkered with the team’s starting lineup over the course of the season, but no matter what he tried, he was having difficulty finding one that stuck. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Ham planned to start Jarred Vanderbilt as the fifth starter alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves in early February, but injuries to James and Davis sidetracked that plan.

Then, shortly after, Vanderbilt suffered a foot injury and hasn’t played since Feb. 1. A player with a unique skillset who helped propel last year’s late-season run, Vanderbilt’s absence was and is a big blow to the Lakers. According to Buha, there is internal optimism that Vanderbilt will return before the regular season ends next month.

Someone needed to step up in Vanderbilt’s absence and, so far, the Lakers have seen success with Rui Hachimura taking over the fifth starter spot from Vanderbilt and Taurean Prince, the latter of whom has been a starter for most of the year. The Lakers moved to 12-5 with Hachimura in the starting five next to James, Davis, Russell and Reaves after beating the Sixers on Friday.

I’ve been telling them, like, this is who we are,” Hachimura said. “We’ve been trying a lot of different things, some lineups and all this stuff, but this is the lineup we had in the playoffs and that’s how we won, so it’s simple. … It’s just that we know, we’re just really comfortable playing each other.

Buha further explores why it took so long for the Lakers to get back to lineups featuring Hachimura, which had success last postseason. As Buha explains, Vanderbilt’s preseason injury caused the team to pick between Hachimura and Prince for early-season starter, and Prince won out due to his professionalism and consistency. Prince’s ties to Ham also helped keep him in the lineup for as long as he was.

But with the team floundering and lineups featuring Prince next to the stars continuing to be outscored, the team made the move to Hachimura. So far, the new starting group is outscoring opponents by 42 points and has a plus-8.0 net differential.

We have more from the Lakers:

  • In the same article, Buha writes that while Christian Wood is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with his knee injury, there’s a chance he can make a return for the Play-In Tournament or the playoffs, if the Lakers make it. Wood is averaging 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds this season.
  • Prince missed Friday’s game against the Lakers due to personal reasons but he’s expected to be back in the lineup on Sunday against the Pacers, according to Buha (Twitter links). Prince is averaging 9.0 points and shooting 38.7% from beyond the arc in 66 appearances (49 starts) this season.
  • After he’s been in and out of the lineup due to injury over the past couple months, the Lakers are optimistic that Cam Reddish will be available and able to help the team during the final stretch of the season, The Orange County Register’s Khobi Price writes. Reddish has missed 19 of the last 24 games due to a sprained right ankle after originally suffering the injury on Jan. 23. Ham expressed confidence he’ll be able to help sooner than later. “He should be able to find his rhythm pretty quickly,” Ham said of Reddish. “Obviously, there’s gonna be a little bit of rust and it’s always like that when you’ve been out of the lineup. But for the most part, the things he needs to do to help us win, he should be able to fall right back in the pocket pretty smoothly.
  • The Lakers are running more sets and organized offense, leading to the second-best offensive rating in the league over the past two months, Price observes in a separate article. L.A. is continuing to put forth solid halfcourt offensive displays and are thriving in games with controlled offense. “Getting off to good starts, when the offense gets stagnant, we can run a few sets to get the ball popping again,” Russell said. “It’s vital for us. We’ve got a lot of guys, a lot of talent, can easily get in ‘Hero Mode’ and it can hurt us as a team. So just keeping that ball popping. Having everybody trust the pass. It’ll be contagious, making us hard to guard.

Lakers Notes: James, Davis, Russell, Vincent, Reddish

The Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, three games behind the sixth-place Kings to avoid the play-in tournament. With ground to make up in the playoff race, LeBron James was locked in against the Hawks on Monday, racking up 25 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists in 29 minutes. The Lakers recorded a 31-point victory.

“Just setting a tone, trying to set a tone,” head coach Darvin Ham said of James, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “It’s money time right now. We have no time to waste. It starts with our two captains.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Anthony Davis had 22 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in a team-high 31 minutes on Monday. He returned after missing three games due to a left corneal abrasion. He played without any protection on his eyes after consulting with medical specialists, according to The Associated Press. “Obviously (I would have) if the doctors had told me I needed it, but I didn’t need it,” Davis said.
  • D’Angelo Russell has made 183 three-pointers this season, tying Nick Van Exel’s franchise record. Russell is shooting a career-best 41.9% from beyond the arc this season. “It’s just really cool,” he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I said I don’t want to underdo it, understate it, overdo it. I just feel like it’s really cool to just be a part of something like that. I think I did something like that in Brooklyn, as well. Just to get credit for your game and what you work through and showcase it every night.”
  • Gabe Vincent still plans to play this season and his nearing a return, barring any setbacks, Marc Stein tweets. Vincent underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late December. Vincent was cleared for non-contact work last week.
  • Cam Reddish practiced on Wednesday and Ham expects him to play on Friday against Philadelphia, McMenamin tweets. Reddish hasn’t played since March 8 due to an ankle injury.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Young, Bol, Looney, Reddish

Devin Booker returned to the Suns‘ lineup on Monday night and the team’s big three carried it to a six-point win over Cleveland, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic notes. Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal combined for 88 of the club’s 117 points. Booker scored 27 points after missing four games with a right ankle sprain. Phoenix is 15-9 with all three stars in the lineup.

“They’ve got a great ability to pierce single coverage or drop coverage in pick-and-roll and when they start bringing two to the basketball, they’re all willing passers,” Suns head coach Frank Vogel said.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Veteran forward Thaddeus Young has only played in two games since the Suns signed him off the buyout market. “If the matchup fits, then we’ll use him, but for now he’s behind Drew (Eubanks) on the depth chart,” Vogel said, per Rankin (Twitter link). Bol Bol has received steady, if limited, minutes this month. He’s averaging 5.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 11.2 minutes over six March outings. Regarding Bol’s minutes, Vogel said it’s about either matchup or being able to go zone to protect him on the defense, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets.
  • Warriors center Kevon Looney’s consecutive games played streak lasted 254 games in the regular season and 289 including playoffs — second in the NBA behind only the Nets’ Mikal Bridges. It ended not because of injury but due to losing his rotation spot. He was a DNP-Coach’s Decision against the Bulls and Spurs. “I still get to carry it a little bit. I was available. I can still say I didn’t get hurt. Knock on wood,” Looney told Anthony Slater of The Athletic as he knocked on his locker. “I’m still taking care of my body. Still feeling good. Still available whenever they call on me again. I’ll be ready.”
  • Lakers forward Cam Reddish won’t play against the Kings on Wednesday due to a right ankle sprain, Khobi Price of the Orange County Register tweets. LeBron James (left ankle) is listed as questionable.

L.A. Notes: Davis, Reddish, Tucker, Schedule

Anthony Davis overcame a sore left shoulder to deliver a historic performance in the Lakers‘ win over Minnesota Sunday night, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. His combination of 27 points, 25 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and three blocks had never been posted before in the league. Davis was listed as questionable for the game, still feeling the effects of a Friday collision with Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the team’s medical staff had to wrap his shoulder with a heat pack whenever he wasn’t on the court.

“I felt it at times out there,” Davis said. “I still kind of feel it.”

McMenamin notes that the seven steals were a career high for Davis, and the 25 rebounds fell one short of his career-best mark. He has played a huge role in the Lakers’ recent surge, which has them six games over .500 and within two games of sixth place.

“I think we’re hitting our stride right now,” Davis said. “We’re just trying to keep going, keep pushing, knowing that just like last year, all we got to do is get in. We feel like it’s tough for anybody to beat us in a seven-game series. … We like our chances against anybody at that point.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Lakers forward Cam Reddish sat out Sunday’s game and continues to deal with significant soreness in his right ankle, tweets Khobi Price of The Orange County Register. Coach Darvin Ham said he expects an update on Reddish’s condition in the next day or two.
  • P.J. Tucker, who has seen limited court time since being traded to the Clippers in November, made his first start of the season on Sunday, per Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. The opportunity came because Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were both sitting out the second game of a back-to-back, and Tucker responded with seven points and six rebounds in 25 minutes. The 38-year-old forward believes he can still contribute to the team. “That’s what I do. It’s like breathing to me — physicality and making people work and not giving up easy plays and cave,” Tucker said. “That’s the stuff that comes naturally. Making shots and doing all that stuff is just extras.”
  • Coach Tyronn Lue was unhappy about the scheduling conflict that had his team playing two afternoon games 22 hours apart, per Greg Beacham of The Associated Press. The Clippers typically get the worst dates at Arena, and they were forced into the early contests because the Lakers had a home game Sunday night and the NHL’s Kings had a late game Saturday. Bucks coach Doc Rivers, whose team provided the opposition on Sunday, said he went through the same experience when he coached the Clippers. “It was awful,” Rivers said. “I think we did two or three of these (back-to-back afternoon weekend games) a year. It’s just not natural. Being here, you get used to it, but it’s still not normal.”

Injury Notes: Ball, Ayton, Exum, Reddish

LaMelo Ball has been sidelined since January 26, having missed the Hornets‘ past 16 games due to what the team initially referred to as right ankle soreness and later diagnosed as ankle tendinopathy. Asked on Thursday where the star guard is in his recovery compared to two weeks ago, head coach Steve Clifford offered few specifics and didn’t give any indication that Ball’s return is imminent.

“It’s hard to tell,” Clifford said, per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). “Look, he’s doing the same stuff now that he was doing two weeks ago. I don’t know that stuff. He does what they allow him to do. There’s a lot of factors in that, obviously. Like today, he did a lot of shootaround. He’s been doing that for a while.

“He wants to be back. Again, he doesn’t feel healthy enough and people aren’t comfortable enough that he should play. I don’t really know how to answer that. He does shootaround and things like that. He does his work. I know he wants to get back. There’s just a lot of factors on that one.”

The Hornets are 11 games back of the final play-in spot in the East with just 23 contests remaining, so the team has little to play for down the stretch and can afford to be extremely cautious with Ball, whose five-year, maximum-salary rookie scale extension will go into effect in July.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the league:

  • Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton underwent further testing on the right hand injury he sustained on Tuesday, and those tests confirmed the hand is sprained, a source tells Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report (Twitter link). Ayton is considered day-to-day, per Highkin. The former No. 1 overall pick is listed as doubtful to play on Friday in Memphis.
  • Mavericks guard Dante Exum – who missed nine games in January due to a right plantar sprain, then 13 more in January and February due to right knee bursitis – played on Wednesday for the first time in over a month (Twitter link). A starter for 14 games in the first half of the season, Exum may not reclaim that role for a Dallas team that is deeper and healthier than it was earlier in 2023/24, but he played nearly 17 minutes off the bench in his first game back, recording four points, five assists, and three rebounds.
  • Cam Reddish returned this week from a right ankle injury that cost him 14 games, but he doesn’t appear to be feeling 100% quite yet. Reddish was on the court for just four minutes in the Lakers‘ win over Washington on Thursday, with head coach Darvin Ham telling reporters after the game that the forward experienced soreness in that ankle, prompting the team to sit him for the rest of the game in favor of Max Christie (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic).

Pacific Notes: Wiggins, Suns, S. Lee, Fox, Huerter, Reddish

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins will miss his second straight game on Thursday vs. New York due to personal reasons, with Anthony Slater of The Athletic describing the absence as a “family matter.” It’s unclear when Wiggins will return to the lineup, though head coach Steve Kerr said the team expects him back at some point.

Don’t know,” Kerr said of a return timeline. “We’ll obviously respect Andrew’s wishes for this to remain private. Personal reasons.”

As Slater notes, Wiggins missed the final 25 games of the 2022/23 season due to personal reasons, returning just before the postseason began.

Here are a few more notes from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns have an open roster spot. Veterans Mike Muscala (Pistons) and Patty Mills (Hawks) were recently waived by their former clubs, with Muscala reaching a buyout agreement. Would Phoenix be interested in either of those players? John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 says the answer is no (Twitter links). The Suns are much more likely to convert Saben Lee‘s two-way contract to a standard deal, according to Gambadoro, who says (via Twitter) the odds of that happening are “very high.” It’s worth noting that Lee, who was the 38th pick of the 2020 draft, is in his fourth NBA season — he will not be eligible for two-way contracts in 2024/25 and beyond.
  • After building an early lead on Wednesday against the Nuggets, the Kings wound up being blown out in Denver without star point guard De’Aaron Fox, writes Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. Fox, who sustained a left knee contusion in Monday’s loss to Miami, went through the team’s shootaround yesterday morning and his pregame shooting routine prior to being ruled out, which seemingly indicates the injury is relatively minor.
  • According to Biderman, guard Kevin Huerter was frustrated with his lack of playing time following Wednesday’s game, in which he played just 18 minutes. “I don’t know if I could put my finger on one (thing),” Huerter said of the Kings being outscored by 35 points over the second and third quarters. “I wish I was out there to help us more though.” Huerter declined to expand on those comments, but Biderman points out that the 25-year-old is playing a career-low 25.2 minutes per game and briefly lost his starting job in December before reclaiming it.
  • After missing the previous 14 games with a right ankle sprain, Lakers wing Cam Reddish returned to action in Wednesday’s win over the Clippers, per Khobi Price of The Southern Califnornia News Group. The former lottery pick played 20 minutes and supplanted second-year guard/forward Max Christie in the rotation, Price adds.

Lakers Notes: Dinwiddie, LeBron, Russell, Reaves, Injuries

After going through his first practice with the Lakers on Monday, veteran point guard Spencer Dinwiddie explained why he chose Los Angeles over the Mavericks when he became a free agent last week, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“The two situations kind of felt like this: Let’s say you were a kid and you got your ass whupped by the bully,” Dinwiddie said. “Dallas would’ve been like your momma being like, ‘It’s OK, baby. Don’t worry about it.’ Lakers are like your dad: ‘Nah, you better go out there and fight ’til you win.’ You feel me? And I just felt like that was what I needed at the time. I’m a big believer in kind of doing what you need to do at whatever time it is.”

As McMenamin notes, Dinwiddie played for the Mavericks and head coach Jason Kidd from 2022-23, but has never played for his hometown Lakers or Darvin Ham, so that represented the more challenging, less familiar route for the 30-year-old. Dinwiddie added that Rob Pelinka was the first team executive to call him after he was waived by Toronto, which made a strong impression.

The veteran guard will be reuniting with a few former teammates in L.A., including D’Angelo Russell, Taurean Prince, Rui Hachimura, and Christian Wood. However, as McMenamin writes, Dinwiddie made it clear that none of those players were the most influential voice in his ear as he made the decision to join the Lakers.

“How the hell we going to give C-Wood the credit? Bro, what are we doing?” Dinwiddie said with a laugh. “Look, C-Wood was impactful. … (But) I’m giving the credit to Bron (LeBron James).”

Here’s more on Dinwiddie and the Lakers:

  • While Dinwiddie will slot in behind Russell and Austin Reaves‘ on the Lakers’ backcourt depth chart, Ham said he can envision using all three guards in certain lineups, perhaps even to close games, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “All three of those guys can play together,” Ham said. “His size, he can guard bigger wings. So if we have to finish the game with those three, he’s definitely more than capable of doing that. We will look at some lineups with the three of those guys, along with Bron and AD. But I think he complements them well. He can defend, he can pass, he can dribble, he can shoot.”
  • Like he did in his previous contract, Dinwiddie negotiated a $1 incentive in his new deal that he’ll earn if the Lakers win the championship, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. His base salary will increase from $1,554,654 to $1,554,655 in that scenario. Dinwiddie told reporters that the $1 championship incentive has become something of inside joke between him and agent Jason Glushon (Twitter video link via McMenamin).
  • Cam Reddish (right ankle sprain), Max Christie (right ankle sprain), Jarred Vanderbilt (right mid-foot sprain), and Gabe Vincent (left knee surgery recovery) will all be reevaluated after the All-Star break, the Lakers said on Monday (Twitter link via Khobi Price of the Southern California News Group). Some of those players are closer to returning than others, with Vanderbilt’s status for the rest of the season notably still up in the air.

L.A. Notes: Tucker, Clippers, Reddish, Christie

Clippers forward P.J. Tucker expressed disappointment he wasn’t moved at Thursday’s deadline after being sparsely used following his trade from Philadelphia. However, the Clippers indicated that he’s in their plans following the deadline.

We like P.J. here and he’ll get an opportunity,” head coach Tyronn Lue said (Twitter video link via The Athletic’s Law Murray). “That’s part of the game, you’re going to get frustrated because everybody wants to play. P.J. will be OK.

The Clippers did try to trade Tucker, but his age and $11.5MM player option for next season limited his value on the market, Murray writes. Despite the fact that he lost his rotation spot, the front office still believes Tucker is capable of being a playoff contributor and guarding bigger forwards, according to Murray.

We have more notes out of Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers had a quiet trade deadline and appear to be happy to avoid any more midseason roster changes, The Orange County Register’s Janis Carr writes. The team already made a big splash this season by trading for James Harden in October. L.A. struggled to find consistency right away but has since lost just nine of 31 games and is a single game out of first in the Western Conference. “I think what we’ve done since acquiring James and the different rotations, different combinations and finally getting it down to where it works for our team is really good,” Lue said. “Just having familiarity with each other on the floor, I think guys are feeling comfortable in their roles, their minutes, and how we’re playing. So, to break that up, I’m glad that didn’t happen. I’m happy for the team we have, the guys we have in the locker room, and we’ll see what we have going forward.
  • Lakers forward Cam Reddish was cleared to begin on-court progression and ramp-up work, according to The Orange County Register’s Khobi Price (Twitter link). The hope is that Reddish will be able to return soon after the All-Star break. Reddish is averaging 6.7 points this season in 35 games (26 starts).
  • After exiting the second quarter of the Lakers‘ Thursday game against the Nuggets with an ankle sprain, Max Christie underwent an MRI on his right ankle, tweets ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. The team is awaiting the results. Christie is averaging 5.0 points per game this season.