The Lakers have reportedly agreed to terms with Darvin Ham to become their new head coach.  

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Ham will join the Lakers as a first-time head coach on a four-year deal. He had his first formal interview with the team on Thursday and was offered the job on Friday. 

Ham will take over from Frank Vogel who was relieved of his duties at the conclusion of the season for the Lakers. 

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Why did the Lakers hire Darvin Ham? 

Given the unsteadiness surrounding the club this past season, it’s fair to wonder why the franchise has elected to go the route with an unproven first-time head coach in Ham. 

Prior to the hiring, the Lakers’ search for a new head coach had been reduced to three finalists — Ham, former Blazers coach Terry Stotts, and former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. The Lakers’ job, given its current roster, requires something more than what X’s and O’s guys like Stotts and Atkinson could provide. 

Ham, by all accounts, is a well-respected guy who also holds cache of having played in the league for eight seasons, winning a championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. 

The Lakers were looking for someone who commands respect from the locker room — very important on a roster that includes LeBron James and veterans like Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis — and is able to manage the different personalities on the team, also. 

“In terms of what this team needs right now, we feel like obviously with superstars on our team, we want a strong voice that is able to inspire the players to play at the highest level of competition every night,” Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said about the coaching search on April 11.

“I think that’s going to be one of the resounding qualities that we look for, in terms of holding everybody from the top player on our team to the 15th man to a degree of accountability, and that’s going to be one of the many characteristics that jumps out today.”

It was these attributes that pushed Ham over the line for the Lakers’ job. 

Ham has been an assistant coach in the NBA for a decade now – spending two seasons with the Lakers between 2011-13 in a player development role, working alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, before joining the Atlanta Hawks coaching staff in 2013.

He spent five seasons with the Hawks before joining Mike Budenholzer’s staff as an assistant in 2018 and was a part of the Bucks’ 2021 championship. 

Shortly after the announcement, James tweeted his pleasure at the news of Ham’s hiring. 

LeBron’s incredible play this past season has given the Lakers confidence that they can still challenge for a title. The hiring of Ham, who has championship experience on both sides of the game, is just the hire the team needs right now. 

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