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Before hiring Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers had Juwan Howard as their top head coaching choice

Andrew Buller-Russ

When the Los Angeles Lakers decided to hire former Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham to be their head coach, many agreed that it was a good decision by the organization (except for Charles Barkley). While it appears to be a strong hire following their failure to reach the postseason, one report suggests Ham wasn’t their first choice. Instead, Juwan Howard was the coach the Lakers reportedly had their sights set on according to Marc Stein.

While the Lakers reached out to Howard, trying to gauge his interest in moving to L.A., it sounds like the coach wasn’t moved by their negotiations.

Talks between Lakers, Howard didn’t get far

Howard, the current head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, unfortunately didn’t feel the same way about the Lakers, preferring to stay with his current squad, where he’s coached each of the past three seasons.

It is unknown just how far talks between the Lakers and Howard got, but it apparently didn’t reach the offer stage with Howard not showing a great amount of initial interest. Had he shown more interest, Adrian Wojnarowski suggests an offer would have been extended Howard’s way.

Who knows the exact reasoning behind why Howard didn’t want to leave Michigan for the NBA. He’s been an NBA assistant in the past with the Miami Heat from 2013 to 2019 before leaving for Michigan, and chances are, his goal is to return to an NBA sideline soon.

Maybe the idea of coaching the Lakers just didn’t grab Howard, or maybe the former Michigan alumni truly loves his current position.

Instead, the Lakers are moving forward with Ham, giving him his first chance to be an NBA head coach, but it sounds as if Howard could have had the chance to coach LeBron James and Anthony Davis in 2022. If he wanted to.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers give new coach Darvin Ham freedoms Frank Vogel did not have