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Report: Disconnect growing between Lakers, coach Darvin Ham

Dec 30, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham reacts to call by a referee for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the third quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Still unable to emerge from a funk that is bordering on a month, there is now “a growing disconnect” between Los Angeles Lakers players and head coach Darvin Ham, The Athletic reported Thursday.

All seemed optimistic in Lakers land when the team roared to the title in the NBA in-season tournament with a 123-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Las Vegas on Dec. 9.

Since then, though, the Lakers are just 3-9 as they wade through nagging injuries with the supporting crew that surrounds stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James. According to the report, the issue stems from the player rotation and other adjustments.

“Guys being out is no excuse, there’s no excuses for us,” Davis said after Wednesday’s 110-96 loss to the Miami Heat. “Every guy in this locker room is here to win but we just have to go out and compete.”

A major rotation change came in early November when Austin Reaves was moved to the bench following some early season inconsistencies. He was returned to the starting lineup Wednesday as the Lakers lost at home, while extending their losing streak to three games.

Rui Hachimura (calf) and D’Angelo Russell (tailbone) have missed games this week, complicating Ham’s efforts to put out a cohesive rotation. Ham already has used 10 different starting lineups.

One issue, according to the report, stemmed from a Dec. 23 game at Oklahoma City when Jarred Vanderbilt was given his first start of the season and James was slid into the point-guard spot. Russell was moved to the bench for the first time.

The Lakers actually earned a 129-120 victory over the Thunder in that game but are 1-4 since.

“It’s human nature for you to get down and disappointed when those unfortunate things happen,” Ham said after Wednesday’s loss to the Heat. “But at the end of the day, it’s NBA basketball. It’s extremely hard to win in this league. You have to really pour all of yourself into each and every possession or as many as possible.

“We’ll figure it out. There’s a lot of time left but the time is precious. We have to figure it out, (and) we will.”

Last season, Ham’s first as head coach of the Lakers, the team started 2-10 before making its way to the Western Conference finals.

Ham, 50, has an overall 60-57 record.

–Field Level Media

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