Bucks assistant Darvin Ham is the only finalist for the Lakers‘ coaching vacancy without previous head coaching experience, but he apparently has the support of LeBron James, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “He’s the guy LeBron wants,” a source from a rival team tells Pincus.
Ham, 48, also has the advantage of a previous relationship with the Lakers. After his playing career ended, his first NBA job was an an assistant coach in L.A., where he stayed for two seasons before joining Mike Budenholzer‘s staff in Atlanta and later in Milwaukee. Ham possesses a strong personality and plenty of energy, and Pincus believes he could be the best choice to motivate the Lakers’ veteran-laden roster.
Assessing the other finalists, Pincus calls Terry Stotts the “safest choice,” but says he’ll need an experienced assistant to handle the defense, and he views Kenny Atkinson as a “wild card” with a reputation for being rigid in his approach to the game.
There’s more on the Lakers:
- None of the finalists inspire any excitement, in the view of Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times, who says the Lakers need to find a way to acquire Doc Rivers from the Sixers. Rivers still has three seasons left on his contract in Philadelphia and recently received a vote of confidence from president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, but Plaschke cites rumors that Morey would prefer Mike D’Antoni, especially in the wake of the Sixers’ second-round exit. Plaschke theorizes that the Lakers would have already hired Rivers if he weren’t under contract with another team.
- Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and Nets GM Sean Marks were seen meeting at the NBA Combine this week, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog. While no details of the conversation were made public, it’s worth noting that the Lakers had internal discussions about acquiring Kyrie Irving before he resumed playing in January. Marks is also very familiar with one of Pelinka’s head coaching finalists, having hired Atkinson during his first year in Brooklyn.
- The Lakers are part of a growing list of teams that have lined up a workout with Iowa State guard Izaiah Brockington, per Spencer Davies of Basketball News. Brockington wasn’t invited to the Draft Combine or the G League Elite Camp, but he has already worked out for the Hawks and sources tell Davies that as many as 14 teams are interested in seeing him in action. The Lakers don’t have any picks in this year’s draft, so they would have to trade for one or hope to sign him as a free agent if he goes undrafted.