ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday night that Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham had agreed to a four-year deal to become the next head coach of the Lakers.
The hire comes after the Lakers and former head coach Frank Vogel parted ways after a 33-49 season that saw the organization miss the postseason a second time with LeBron James in the purple and gold.
Ham, who has been an assistant coach in Milwaukee the past four seasons, played eight seasons in the NBA, including one in Los Angeles with the 2004 NBA champion Lakers.
“I’m so happy for him,” two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo told ESPN. “He’s the right fit for them. He keeps it real with you. No BS at all. It’s about damn time. He deserves it more than anyone.”
The hiring ends a relatively quiet process for the Lakers, who reportedly interviewed former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts.
Ham will be asked to manage the Lakers three All-Star players in Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and James.
“In terms of what this team needs right now, we feel like with, obviously, superstars on our team, we want a strong voice that’s able to inspire the players to play at the highest level of competition every night,” general manager Rob Pelinka said after the team fired Vogel, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“And I think that’s going to be one of the resounding qualities that we look for in terms of holding everybody from the top player on our team to the 15th man to a degree of accountability.”
James apparently approved of the move, sending a note of congratulations to Ham on social media.
“So damn EXCITED!!!!!!!!” James posted to Twitter Friday. “Congrats and welcome Coach DHam!!”
The Lakers were expected to compete for an NBA championship in the 2021-2022 season after acquiring Westbrook in the offseason. Instead, the team struggled to find chemistry and was eliminated from playoff contention April 5.