On the list of the most...puzzling things the current Lakers front office did over the last year as they — intentionally or not — sabotaged Frank Vogel was including Kurt Rambis in the team’s coach’s meetings. Not only was having the front office meddle with the coaching staff an awful look, but having Rambis — a man who has never won more than 24 games in a season — as the person in the meetings was certainly a choice.
Heading into the current coaching search, the Lakers were going to have to assure and convince candidates that would not be a recurring trend going forward. Fortunately for everyone, according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein, general manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Buss and the rest of the front office made those concessions for the team’s next head coach Darvin Ham.
According to the buzz in NBA coaching circles over the weekend, Ham has likewise been promised the autonomy to pick his coaching staff and is said to have received assurances that Lakers senior advisor Kurt Rambis will not be a regular presence in coaching meetings like he was with Vogel. If those promises come to fruition and Ham actually receives all that latitude, they will rank as significant concessions secured by a first-time NBA head coach.
The consequence of the report leaking last season was that the Lakers were going to have to address the matter during interviews with coaching candidates this season. No coach is going to sign up to have the front office meddling in their coach meetings and nor should anyone expect that to happen.
That the Lakers acquiesced is a positive sign but also seems to indicate they know it was not normal to do something like that. Hopefully, the general empowering the team has done to Ham between this and giving him autonomy to choose his coaching staff are signs that they are taking a step back because if they don’t, Ham’s fate is likely going to be the same as Vogel’s before him.