One of the fastest risers in the college basketball business isn’t going anywhere any time soon. It’s being noted that Michigan head coach Juwan Howard has turned down an overture from the Los Angeles Lakers to be in consideration for the same role in Southern California.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the piece of surprising news, noting that Howard is currently coaching his two sons with the Wolverines.
This comes on the heels of a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic indicating that the Lakers have narrowed their list of candidates to three finalists. That includes Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Scott and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham.
Obviously, this list was finalized after Juwan Howard turned down an opportunity to be considered for the opening following the firing of Frank Vogel.
What does it mean that Juwan Howard passed up on Los Angeles Lakers opportunity?
A star for the Wolverines basketball program from 1991-94, Howard has always viewed a return to Ann Arbor as an important career goal.
Following his retirement from the NBA back in 2013, the former All-Star took on a role as a Miami Heat assistant for the next seven seasons. He was then hired by Michigan ahead of the 2019-20 season.
For Howard, this didn’t seem to be a stepping stone to an NBA gig. He’s firmly entrenched in as the face of the Wolverines basketball program. They earned an appearance in the Elite 8 in his second season before being knocked out in the Sweek 16 this past March.
Typically, a college coach passing up on an opportunity to head to the Lakers would be seen as a knock on the organization. Given that Los Angeles is coming off an ugly 49-loss season and is mired in drama, that’s magnified further.
We’re not ready to conclude that this is the case surrounding Juwan Howard. His situation is different than others in that he’s coaching his sons for his Alma mater.