As the Lakers continue moving forward with their search for a head coach, there is a growing possibility that the team hires a first-time head coach in Darvin Ham. The current Bucks assistant reportedly made the strongest impression on the franchise and was also considered the favorite for the job as well as being LeBron James’ pick.
For as qualified as Ham has been for some time as a candidate and for as ready as he may be to be a head coach, previous head coaching experience still counts for something and it’s something Ham simply won’t have.
Because of that, one of the more popular suggestions from Lakers fans has been to pair Ham with one of his more experienced fellow finalists in Terry Stotts or Kenny Atkinson. Particularly when it comes to Stotts, a coach who was out of the league last year for the first time since 2012.
However, as ideal a situation as it would be on paper, Stotts may not be a willing participant in the matter. According to a piece from Dan Woike of the LA Times, Stotts is not open to taking an assistant role.
Regarded as an excellent Xs and O’s coach on offense. Led Portland to the Western Conference finals. Easygoing and experienced, would be a seamless fit. While he’d be a fit with anyone else the Lakers might hire, sources say he doesn’t want a lead assistant job.
In line with that, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report added that not only was this a fan theory to have Stotts as an associate head coach or lead assistant to Ham, the Lakers had also hopes that to be the case.
Good note here from Dan. There had been increasing word that should Darvin Ham ultimately emerge as the Lakers’ next head coach, that Los Angeles had designs on hiring Stotts as his associate. https://t.co/r7b0ZSDOEB— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) May 25, 2022
Stotts is technically being paid for one more year by the Blazers, so he would still simply be paid to sit at home and watch basketball which would be appealing to many.
Even if it isn’t Stotts, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the team took this path in general should they hire Ham. The other finalist in Atkinson could be an option as well, though he already has a job with the Warriors and it’s much less likely to see him swapping seats.
Their options aren’t limited to candidates they interviewed, either. There are plenty of experienced assistant coaches on the market and around the league that could step in and fill the role, all this under the assumption that they hire Ham at least.
The good news this time around, at least, is that the team isn’t trying to strong arm candidates into putting someone on staff as they did with Jason Kidd in 2019, even if they did turn out to be right.