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Lakers officially name Darvin Ham as head coach

Sportsnaut
Jan 5, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Milwaukee Bucks' acting head coach Darvin Ham gestures to his team in the fourth quarter during the game against the Toronto Raptors at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers officially named Darvin Ham as the 28th head coach in franchise history on Friday.

Ham, 48, signed a multi-year contract. Terms were not disclosed. Previous reports said it was a four-year deal for the former Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach.

Ham has no prior head coaching experience but has been an NBA assistant coach the past 11 seasons, including two seasons (2011-13) with the Lakers. He had been with the Bucks since 2018 and helped them win a championship in 2020-21.

Ham now takes over a storied franchise that has won 17 NBA championships, 19 conference titles and 33 division titles.

“When someone begins his NBA coaching career at the G League level and goes all the way through playing an integral role on the front bench of an NBA Championship team, it really speaks to a certain strength of character,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a news release.

“Our players and fans will immediately identify with Darvin’s no-nonsense and hard-working approach, which we feel will bring toughness and a competitive edge to all we do. When you add that to Darvin’s sophisticated grasp of in-game strategy and deep knowledge of the game of basketball, we have the ideal coach for this next chapter in Lakers history. We could not be more honored and proud to name Darvin Ham as our new head coach.”

The Lakers fired Frank Vogel on April 11 after three seasons with the team, guiding them to the NBA title in 2020. Vogel finished 127-98 in Los Angeles, but the team went 33-49 this past season and missed the playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons.

Ham takes over a talented roster that includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the duo was slowed by multiple injuries for each last season. James played in 56 of the Lakers’ 82 games, while Davis played in 40.

The Lakers do not have a pick in the June 23 NBA Draft. They moved their first-round selection to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal to land Davis, while their second-round pick currently belongs to the San Antonio Spurs.

Ham played eight seasons in the NBA, making his debut with the Denver Nuggets in the 1996-97 season after he went undrafted out of Texas Tech. He averaged 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 417 career games (45 starts) for the Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Bucks, Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons.

Ham’s best season came in the 1999-2000 with the Bucks when he averaged 5.1 points with 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 35 games (21 starts).

The Lakers will hold an introductory press conference for Ham on Monday at the UCLA Health Training Center.

–Field Level Media