The Los Angeles Lakers have a new coach, reaching a deal to hire Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham to replace the fired Frank Vogel.
ESPN first reported the hire Friday, which was subsequently confirmed by the Los Angeles Times. The team did not respond to a request for comment from City News Service, but star LeBron James confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, “So damn EXCITED!!!!!!! Congrats and welcome Coach DHam!!”
The Times reported that the deal is for four years, and said Ham will be allowed to pick his own assistants.
The newspaper also said the Lakers met with former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, former NBA coach Mark Jackson, Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin before narrowing the search to Ham, Stotts and Atkinson.
Ham, 48, played college ball at Texas Tech and played for eight seasons in the NBA, including stints with the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Bucks, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets. He has been an NBA assistant coach for more than a decade, including a 2011-13 stint with the Lakers.
He was an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks before joining the Bucks coaching staff in 2018.
The Lakers fired Vogel in April following two straight disappointing seasons on the heels of the team’s championship in the pandemic-abbreviated 2019-20 season.
In the 2020-21 season, the team finished 42-30 and was ousted from the playoffs in the first round. In the 2021-22 season, with James and Anthony Davis both battling injuries, the Lakers missed the postseason. Vogel compiled a 127-98 record during his time with the team.