The Lakers have hired Darvin Ham as coach, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 28, 2022
This should put an end to countless rumors that the Lakers were waiting and hoping to pilfer Doc Rivers from the Sixers. Doc was first linked to LeBron James and co. back in April.
And folks like Woj, Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst, Marc Stein and Jake Fischer had all speculated that the Lakers continue to loom as suitors in the event Rivers suddenly became available.
Daryl Morey had said simply “yes,” that he was willing to assure fans Doc would be back upon exit interviews following the team’s unceremonious second round exit to the Miami Heat. Still, that didn’t fully end the intrigue among reporters.
As Rivers has largely waned in popularity among fans after two seasons, some critics began wondering if Philadelphia might be hoping to wrangle a draft pick or two out of L.A. But both publicly and privately, the Sixers let it be known that was all simply noise and that ownership, the front office, and coaching staff are all aligned on their future together.
Many reporters prior to the Ham-Lakers news have noted that Doc Rivers’ whopping salary, still owed a guaranteed $24M for three more years, would have likely been a hefty pill to swallow for Sixers’ ownership:
The Lakers were rumored to not exactly be flush with cash. Chances are, Ham, as a first time head coach won’t be making anywhere close to the $8M annually, Rivers commands.
Ham beats out Kenny Atkinson, Terry Stotts, and others that Lakers’ owner Jeanie Buss, and her collaborative management group (which includes Kurt and Linda Rambis, Rob Pelinka, with input from a pair of Buss’ old flames Tim Harris and Phil Jackson, and Rich Paul, head of Klutch Sports representing LeBron James) were considering.
Shams Charania reports that Ham is receiving a four-year deal.
Ham won a championship as a reserve player with the 2004 Detroit Pistons. And another as an assistant under Mike Budenholzer with Milwaukee last season. L.A. finished 33-49, 11th place in the West this season. The key question now is whether or not he’ll coach Russell Westbrook along with LeBron and Anthony Davis.
After a nine year career as a forward in the league, Ham cut his teeth in the G League and eventually worked his way up as an assistant for Phil Jackson from 2011-2013 in L.A. The Charlotte Hornets are now the lone franchise seeking a new signal caller.