Few people sounded more excited than Giannis Antetokounmpo on Friday after the news leaked of Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham being hired by the Los Angeles Lakers after an extensive search.
Antetokounmpo spent five seasons together with Ham on the Bucks and had nothing but positive things to say to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN about Ham’s hiring.
On the Lakers hiring of Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Giannis Antetokounmpo tells ESPN: “I’m so happy for him. 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.”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 28, 2022
Now, if this was about 18 months ago, this would have been a post about how the Lakers just set themselves up to make a run at Giannis. It would have been a really fun blog to write. And technically that could be an option as he could hit free agency in the 2025 offseason if he turns down his player option.
But considering his tongue-in-cheek comments about Los Angeles “not being” for him and the loyalty he’s shown to Milwaukee, this will not be an article about Giannis’ future. Instead, it’ll be an earnest look at one of the biggest positives about the Lakers’ new head coach.
One of Ham’s biggest strengths as a coach is his ability to connect with superstars, and he’s coached some of the best during his time. His two years in Los Angeles at the start of his NBA coaching career came alongside Kobe Bryant and he was able to create strong bonds along the way, few stronger than the one with Giannis.
For a Lakers team that not only has a pair of stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis but a franchise that loves to go star-chasing, having Ham now is a huge asset and one that the Lakers should be very happy to have.
Now, he’ll have to manage at least two of those stars next season and may face a remarkably tough challenge if a third in Russell Westbrook is in the fold, but considering how much he’s connected to them in the past, it could still spell something of a pleasant ending.