Darvin Ham

L.A. Notes: Ham, LeBron, Pelinka, Harden, Ballmer, George

There were signs throughout the season that head coach Darvin Ham was going to take the fall if the Lakers couldn’t make another long playoff run, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Ham was officially fired on Friday after L.A. was dispatched by Denver in five games, but it had been clear that move was coming for a long time, Shelburne adds.

Sources tell Shelburne that LeBron James was resistant to Ham’s idea to limit his minutes early in the season. James’ wishes prevailed and that plan was discarded after a few games. Players also openly questioned Ham’s strategies throughout the season, culminating with Anthony Davis saying after the Game 2 loss to Denver, “We have stretches where we don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor.”

Shelburne notes that the Lakers have cycled through head coaches ever since Phil Jackson‘s retirement in 2011, with none lasting more than three seasons. That list includes Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni, who both went on to win Coach of the Year honors with other teams after leaving L.A. To avoid another short-term hire, Shelburne advises Lakers management to approach this coaching search with a clear idea of its vision for the team.

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Ham was undermined internally, which made it impossible for him to succeed, contends Jim Alexander of The Orange County Register. Alexander speculates that anonymous complaints were leaked by general manager Rob Pelinka to deflect blame from his questionable personnel moves, along with James and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. The danger, according to Alexander, is that the front office may have fired Ham without having an obvious candidate in mind to replace him.
  • James Harden declined to speculate on his future after the Clippers were eliminated Friday night in Dallas, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Harden demanded a trade out of Philadelphia after president of basketball operations Daryl Morey refused to give him the long-term contract he was expecting, but it’s uncertain if the Clippers will be willing to meet his demands this summer. “I don’t even know,” Harden responded when reporters asked about his upcoming free agency. “You’re asking me a question that I don’t have the answer to. I haven’t even thought about it.”
  • Coach Tyronn Lue is working out his own future with the Clippers, but he was gratified that owner Steve Ballmer addressed the team after Friday’s loss, Turner adds. “You have the seventh-, eighth-richest man in the world and he’s a real fan. Like, he’s a real fan. Like, he treats us like family,” Lue said. “He actually genuinely cares about each individual and we’ve seen that time and time again. So, when you have an owner that really respects who you are, not as a basketball player, but a person and who you are, that means a lot. Not just putting you on a basketball court and saying, ‘OK, you work for me.’ Like, he really genuinely cares about each individual. He cares about the wins. He’s fired up. He’s passionate about it. And, so, that’s what I love the most about Mr. Ballmer. He treats everyone as equals.”
  • The Clippers‘ reluctance to guarantee a fourth year has held up extension talks with Paul George, sources tell Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints. George is eligible for up to $221MM over four seasons, but Azarly’s sources say the team’s latest offer falls short of that figure.

Lakers Fire Darvin Ham

1:17pm: Ham has officially been dismissed, the Lakers confirmed in a press release (Twitter link via Khobi Price of The Southern California News Group).

1:09pm: The Lakers are firing head coach Darvin Ham, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

According to Wojnarowski, general manager Rob Pelinka recently broke the news to Ham over the phone.

Sources tell Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic that L.A. will soon begin an “extensive search” for a new head coach, with former Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and former NBA player and current ESPN analyst J.J. Redick among the candidates.

Tyronn Lue is another name to watch, per Charania and Buha, though he is currently the Clippers‘ head coach. Lue has one year left on his contract, according to The Athletic.

Multiple reporters, including Marc Stein and ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, recently cited Redick as a candidate if Ham were to be fired. Redick co-hosts a podcast with Lakers superstar LeBron James. He’s also said to be a “serious candidate” for Charlotte’s head coaching position.

An eight-year NBA veteran as a player, Ham was a longtime assistant before getting his first head coaching job with the Lakers a couple years ago. He compiled a 90-74 regular season record (.549 win%) and a 9-12 playoff record (.429) in his two seasons at the helm. The team also won a play-in game in each of the past two seasons to advance as the No. 7 seed.

That postseason record is a little misleading, since L.A. made the Western Conference Finals last year before being swept by the Nuggets, who went on to win the championship. The Lakers lost to the Nuggets again in ’23/24, dropping their first-round series in five games.

It’s been a hell of a two years … I’ll tell you that,” Ham said Monday after L.A. was eliminated, per McMenamin. “Sitting in this seat, it’s been a hell of a two years. A lot of good things that got done, but ultimately, you want to win that ultimate prize.”

Wojnarowski first reported that Ham would be on the hot seat if the Lakers were quickly dispatched by the Nuggets, with multiple subsequent reports indicating that the 50-year-old’s job was in “serious peril.” On Thursday, Buha stated on The Athletic’s NBA Show podcast that Ham would likely be fired by the end of the week and perhaps sooner (hat tip to RealGM).

Ham had two years remaining on his contract, which reportedly paid him $5MM annually. He has “a lot of supporters throughout the NBA,” tweets Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com.

A two-time Coach of the Year with Atlanta and Milwaukee, Budenholzer won a championship with the Bucks in 2021. He was dismissed last summer following a first-round playoff exit.

Atkinson is another former head coach, having previously worked for Brooklyn. He backed out of Charlotte’s coaching vacancy a couple years ago after being offered the job.

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.

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.

Lakers Notes: Game 3 Loss, LeBron, Davis, Russell, Ham

The Lakers lost their 11th consecutive game to Denver on Thursday night and are now one game away from being swept out of the postseason by the Nuggets for a second straight season. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, it’s hard to blame Los Angeles’ two stars for the Game 3 loss — LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 59 points on 26-of-43 (60.5%) shooting to go along with 21 rebounds and 12 assists.

“We’ve been — me and this guy [Davis] have been playing together for six years,” James said. “We’ve been to the mountaintop. We’ve been close to the mountaintop. We’ve played a lot of games. We know what it takes to win. We know what it takes to win a championship and how damn near perfect you got to be. That’s not like something that’s so crazy to obtain.”

While James expressed that he and Davis are confident in their ability to deliver big games when it matters most, he didn’t say the same about the rest of the Lakers, McMenamin observes. Austin Reaves had a solid night (22 points on 8-of-17 shooting), but the rest of the Lakers besides LeBron and AD combined for just 24 points and shot 10-of-30 (33.3%) from the floor, including 2-of-16 (12.5%) on three-pointers.

Asked if the Lakers’ were overwhelmed by the Nuggets’ execution, James replied, “You’d have to ask the individuals that question and see how they feel. It’s hard for me just to be like, ‘This is what I think that guy feels.’ … I can’t do that. I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • A disastrous performance against the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals last spring hurt D’Angelo Russell‘s stock a little as he prepared to enter free agency. The same thing may be happening this year. Russell went scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting on Thursday and declined to speak to reporters after the game, according to McMenamin. Russell, who is now averaging 12.0 PPG on 32.6% in the first round, holds a player option worth $18.7MM for the 2024/25 season.
  • Davis told reporters after Game 2’s loss earlier this week that the Lakers “have stretches where we don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor.” Those comments were interpreted as a shot at the coaching staff and didn’t sit well with some people in the organization, according to Jared Greenberg of TNT Sports. “I can tell you from speaking to people within the Lakers’ organization, they were upset – and disappointed, quite frankly – by AD’s comments,” Greenberg said during an NBA TV appearance on Thursday (Twitter video link). As Sam Amick of The Athletic notes, when asked about Davis’ comments on Wednesday, head coach Darvin Ham told reporters he chalked them up to frustration and that he would “agree to disagree.”
  • With the Lakers on the brink of elimination, Ham is on the hot seat in Los Angeles, according to Bill Plaschke of The L.A. Times, who notes that some home fans began a “fire Darvin” chant during the fourth quarter on Thursday. Plaschke adds that Ham has been out-coached by Michael Malone during the first round so far, which has been evident by the way the teams have adjusted at halftimes. The Nuggets have outscored the Lakers by a total of 31 points in the third quarters of games, per McMenamin; L.A. has outscored Denver by 11 in the other nine quarters.

And-Ones: Kawhi, Team USA, FAs, Musa, Coaches, More

With 11 of 12 roster spots reportedly locked in for USA Basketball’s 2024 Olympic roster, the program could go in a number of different directions with the 12th and final slot. The list of players in contention for that final roster spot includes plenty of big names, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard is currently viewed as the leading candidate.

Leonard’s teammate Paul George, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, Magic forward Paolo Banchero, and Nets forward Mikal Bridges are also in the mix, sources tell Charania.

Leonard hasn’t represented Team USA at the Olympics or a World Cup before, but has support from some of the stars on the roster, including Kevin Durant and LeBron James, says Charania. George won gold with Team USA in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, while Brunson, Banchero, and Bridges competed in the 2023 World Cup.

It’s possible that more than one player in that final group of candidates could ultimately make the cut if any of the top 11 have to drop out due to an injury or for personal reasons. Of course, Leonard is currently dealing with a nagging knee issue of his own, though there’s no indication at this point it would prevent him from playing in July.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic takes a look at the NBA’s 2024 free agent class, evaluating what sort of stars, starters, and rotation players will be available. As Leroux observes, a handful of stars are on track for potential free agency, but few – if any – are good bets to change teams. That group includes LeBron James, Paul George, James Harden, Pascal Siakam, and Tyrese Maxey.
  • In an interview with Dean Sinovcic of Nacional.hr, former first-round pick Dzanan Musa, who spent two seasons in Brooklyn from 2018-20, didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to the NBA as early as this offseason, but said he’s focused for now on trying to win Liga ACB and EuroLeague titles with Real Madrid (hat tip to Sportando).
  • Sam Amick of The Athletic considers what’s at stake for each NBA head coach in the postseason, suggesting that the pressure will be on Joe Mazzulla (Celtics) to at least reach the NBA Finals. Jason Kidd (Mavericks), J.B. Bickerstaff (Cavaliers), and Darvin Ham (Lakers) are among the others who will be motivated to avoid early exits, Amick adds.
  • In a conversation about end-of-season awards, a panel of five ESPN experts weren’t in agreement on who should win Most Improved Player or Sixth Man of the Year. Three different players – Malik Monk, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Naz Reid – earned votes from the five-man panel for Sixth Man honors.
  • Which NBA players were the most underpaid this season? Despite being on a maximum-salary contract, Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tops the list from Frank Urbina of HoopsHype.

Pacific Notes: D-Lo, Schröder, Curry, Kings, Hyland, Harden

While D’Angelo Russell had some good moments for the Lakers in last year’s playoffs, he also struggled mightily in the Western Conference Finals against the eventual champion Nuggets, leading to him being benched in Game 4 in favor of Dennis Schröder, a superior defender who had a preexisting relationship with head coach Darvin Ham. Russell, on the other hand, was acquired in a trade last February, meaning he’d only known Ham for a few months.

Russell claims he was “the scapegoat” for that series, which saw Denver sweep Los Angeles, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

(Schröder’s) relationship with Darvin is the reason I couldn’t have a relationship with Darvin,” Russell said. “When I was struggling, I would’ve been able to come to the coach and say, ‘Bro, this is what we should do. Like, I can help you.’ Instead, there was no dialogue. … I just accepted it.

And we got swept and I’m here and he’s not. And I like our chances.”

As McMenamin writes, Russell initially wasn’t enthusiastic about re-signing with L.A. as a free agent last summer, apparently in part due to the presence of Schröder. But on the first day of free agency, the Lakers wound up signing Gabe Vincent and Schröder signed with Toronto (he has since been traded to Brooklyn). Russell inked a two-year deal with the Lakers the following day.

The Lakers and Russell reached a compromise on that contract — he got a player option for 2024/25, but he also waived his ability to veto a trade.

Russell was featured prominently in trade rumors for months leading up to last month’s deadline, McMenamin notes, but the Lakers wound up keeping him because he’s been playing so well of late — since January 13, a span of 27 games (36.1 MPG), the 28-year-old is averaging 21.9 PPG, 6.4 APG and 3.2 RPG with a highly efficient .472/.452/.840 shooting line.

If he maintains that level of play in the postseason, Russell could very well decline his $18.7MM player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent again in 2024.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • For his part, former Lakers guard Schröder said he was confused by Russell’s comments, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. I don’t understand it,” the German veteran said. “But at the end of the day, it just shows off immaturity. You’re not really mature if you’re just keeping somebody’s name in his mouth and just running it. I don’t understand.” Ham also responded to Russell’s comments from McMenamin’s article, saying their relationship “is in a great place,” as Jovan Buha of The Athletic relays in a Twitter thread. “We have great conversations,” Ham said. “Great text exchanges after games. During the game our in-game conversations. … It’s tough. That’s why the phrase is called ‘building a relationship.’”
  • The Warriors expect star guard Stephen Curry to return to action on Saturday vs. the Lakers, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Curry, who has missed the past three games with a right ankle sprain, said “that’s the plan” when asked if he was going to suit up tomorrow, per Mark Medina of Sportskeeda (Twitter link).
  • Kings guard Keon Ellis was in the starting lineup the past two games, and his defense on Damian Lillard and Russell was critical in both victories, writes Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Sacramento knows it needs to continue to play strong defense to have a shot at advancing out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, Patterson adds.
  • The Kings are now 6-0 when Ellis starts. Will he continue to start going forward? Head coach Mike Brown sounded pretty skeptical about that possibility, per James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter video link). However, Brown said the second-year guard could finish games at times, similar to Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner Malik Monk.
  • With James Harden out with a shoulder injury, Clippers guard Bones Hyland made the most of his opportunity in Thursday’s victory over the Bulls, observes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Hyland, who was often left open due to the attention paid to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, recorded 17 points (on 6-of-9 shooting), 11 assists, five rebounds and four steals in 32 minutes. Harden will miss his second straight game on Friday, though head coach Tyronn Lue said the former MVP is “feeling better,” tweets Law Murray of The Athletic.

Lakers Notes: Hachimura, Prince, Ham, LeBron

Lakers coach Darvin Ham unveiled another new starting five for Saturday’s win at New York, writes Khobi Price of The Orange County Register. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis both returning from one-game injury absences, Ham replaced Taurean Prince with Rui Hachimura, who made his eighth start of the year as Ham inserted more size into his frequently shifting lineup.

“Just coming out being bigger along the frontline,” Ham said. “Taurean, he has to do it on both sides of the ball. I just felt like him coming off the bench just would allow him to not only shore up our bench in terms of a defensive presence but also allow him to get some buckets too. We need him to score and be aggressive offensively. And so he was able to do that. It worked out well. It created a nice sense of balance.”

Prince, who came off the bench for the first time this season, still found a way to contribute, scoring 16 points in 33 minutes. He and Austin Reaves handled most of the offense as L.A. took over the game in the fourth quarter, combining for 16 of the team’s first 20 points.

“That’s what we need,” Ham added. “We have a team full of talented offensive players. The more they assert themselves and stay aggressive, and … deliver; take advantage of the opportunities that they have, the better it will be (and) the more endurance we’ll have for LeBron and A.D.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Saturday’s win gives L.A. a 3-2 record on its annual Grammys road trip, which was expected to impact the team’s strategy heading into Thursday’s trade deadline, Price adds. The Lakers can wrap up a winning trip with a victory Monday at Charlotte, and they’ve moved within one game of eighth-place Dallas. “We’re just trying to get to a place where we’re playing the type of basketball we envisioned,” Ham said. “The type of basketball we know we’re capable of and defend at a high, high level. That’s (going to) give you a chance every night. And we’ve got enough firepower in terms of people in the starting lineup, people coming off the bench to where we’re (going to) be able to put points on the board.”
  • Ham isn’t concerned about the hourglass emoji tweet that James posted earlier this week, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). He said it’s a reflection of the urgency to win that comes with being part of the Lakers organization. “If I were him, I would’ve put out two or three hourglasses,” Ham quipped.
  • After Saturday’s game, James offered advice to young players who want to be successful in the NBA, saying it requires a total commitment to basketball, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Just pour it all into the game ,” James said. “If you want to be great and if you want to be someone that will be never forgotten in the league, the cars and the jewelry and all the other dumb s–t that don’t matter means absolutely nothing.”

Lakers Notes: Ham, Backcourt, Murray, Reddish, Schröder

After ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Substack reporter Marc Stein suggested earlier this week that Lakers head coach Darvin Ham isn’t in any immediate danger of losing his job, two more reports have confirmed as much — in even stronger terms.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss sent a “long text message” to Ham reiterating her support for him. Meanwhile, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report says that both Buss and president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka have informed Ham that his job isn’t in any jeopardy.

“I speak to Rob every day and we’re always discussing ways to improve our team and what we can do better as a coaching staff,” Ham told Haynes after the Lakers dipped back below .500 with a Thursday loss to Phoenix. “It’s an open dialogue that I embrace and that is helpful. We’re all trying to get this right and we will.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • As they scour the trade market, the Lakers are seeking “speed and quickness” in their backcourt, according to Haynes, who adds that the team would like to be able to play faster offensively and to acquire a guard who plays solid point-of-attack defense. Rival executives expect the Lakers – along with the Raptors, among others – to begin talking more seriously to Atlanta about Dejounte Murray in the near future, Haynes writes, though he cautions that the Hawks are making it known they’d be comfortable hanging onto Murray and revisiting his trade market in the offseason.
  • The Lakers appeared to have broken out of their recent slump with victories over the Clippers and Raptors earlier this week, but Thursday’s blowout loss at home to the Suns was a discouraging setback, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “I think it’s just a lot of holes in our system right now,” D’Angelo Russell said. “You use the regular season to figure those things out, the ups and downs, the digression, the setbacks, all these things. Injuries just keep playing a part in our success. … I think we can still find the light at the end of the tunnel. We just got to get better, got to keep getting better.”
  • Lakers forward Cam Reddish, who missed games in December due to right knee and left groin ailments, continues to deal with leg issues. He left Thursday’s contest early after experiencing left knee soreness, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
  • As part of a larger conversation with Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Raptors guard Dennis Schröder looked back on the 2021 extension offer from the Lakers that he turned down. The guard’s former representatives advised him to pass on it, Fischer writes. “I would have signed it,” Schröder said. “I would never just leave money on the table. My mom didn’t raise me that way.” While reports at the time indicated the offer was worth $80MM+ over four years, Fischer suggested in a follow-up tweet that that figure may have been overstated.

Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Ham, Hachimura

The Lakers have experienced some extreme highs and lows already this season, but they’ve been able to rely on Anthony Davis through everything, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The talented big man has played in 36 of the team’s 38 games, avoiding the injury woes that have haunted him through most of his career. He’s making a case for Defensive Player of the Year honors while taking a larger role in L.A.’s offense, averaging 25.7 points and 3.4 assists per night.

“You could tell his body’s feeling good,” coach Darvin Ham said. He’s in a good space. His energy is great. He’s just doing what he needs to do. He’s not trying to force anything. It’s coming. That’s why it’s so efficient. He’s just playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played, getting good hits on screens. … He’s in a really good mental space, spiritual space. And physically, he’s at a really high level right now.” 

Buha notes that the biggest change in Davis’ game has been the reemergence of his mid-range jumper, which he used so effectively when the Lakers won the title in 2019/20. Davis is shooting 44.4% on mid-range attempts since December 9, adding a much-needed weapon for a team with limited outside shooting.

“I just wasn’t shooting it enough,” Davis said. “A lot of my shots were coming in the paint — post-ups and duck-ins and seals and things like that. Now, the way that teams are playing me, doubling on the catch and on the dribble, I’ve been just getting back to the mid-range. It’s an easier shot instead of fighting the double teams to get a shot up. So that’s all it is. Continuing to trust it and shoot it.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • With about four weeks left until the trade deadline, there’s still time to fix the deficiencies from a frustrating first half of the season, observes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Sources tell McMenamin that LeBron James‘ “patience has been tested” by the team’s performance, but he has decided to lead by example rather than demand changes. James talks to the coaches and front office when they solicit his opinion, but his focus is primarily on the court, according to McMenamin.
  • In the same story, McMenamin casts doubt on rumors that Ham’s job might be in jeopardy. A front office source tells the ESPN writer that Ham was hired for his “character, toughness and presence,” and management has confidence that he can handle the challenges that come with such a high-pressure job.
  • Rui Hachimura is making progress toward returning from his strained left calf, per Khobi Price of The Orange County Register. Hachimura missed his fourth straight game Tuesday night, but Ham indicated there’s a chance he could be back within the next week.