Darvin Ham needed less than 24 hours after his introductory press conference to start reportedly finalizing decisions on his coaching staff. On Tuesday, Ham reportedly parted ways with David Fizdale, Mike Penberthy and John Lucas III from last year’s staff while retaining Phil Handy and Quinton Crawford.
That came a day after Ham had to address the rumors about another potential addition to the coaching staff in Rasheed Wallace. University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway suggested Wallace would be joining the Lakers and Shams Charania of The Athletic initially reported that the Lakers and Wallace had reached an agreement, but Ham pushed back against that notion during his press conference.
“In regards to Rasheed, that’s an active situation that’s fluid,” Ham said. “We’re still working through that. That’s not true at all. He’s definitely a candidate that we’ll take a look at but we’re working through that. We have a list of names and some people that’s currently under contract. We’re working with some really talented, talented young coaches. We’re working through that to put together the best staff possible.”
Not long after Charania initially reported the Lakers had signed Wallace, he walked back the report and noted the two sides had not yet agreed to a deal. For now, it’s a bit of hearsay and an all-but-retracted report which link Wallace to the Lakers, even if it’s a move that could still happen.
Whether or not Wallace is one of the coaches hired, Ham has stated that his expectations for his assistants will differ from other situations around the league. While some head coaches prefer to have offensive or defensive coordinators, Ham is setting out to build his staff with more well-rounded assistants.
“I like coaches that like to roll up their sleeves and will be able to get out there,” Ham said. “From where I come from the last nine years, we did everything. We did player development, we did scouting, I had to step in as the head coach on a few occasions, but it was a team. There wasn’t no coordinators on either side of the ball. We all pitched in on all aspects of our team basketball, offensively and defensively. I’m looking to build a similar type of staff.”
With that logic, it makes sense that Ham prioritized bringing back a coach like Handy. On top of being a respected assistant coach, Handy is also a hands-on type of coach that has a reputation for being a great player development guy.
That guiding principle will help dictate who Ham ultimately selects for his staff, and may even rule out some interesting candidates, like defensive specialist Steve Clifford or offensive guru Terry Stotts. Building a balanced staff similar to the one in Milwaukee appears to be Ham’s aim. And given their track record in recent seasons, it’s hard to argue against that approach. The Bucks have one of the best coaching staffs in the league and have developed many players into contributors throughout the years.
For a Lakers team needing a revamp, Ham’s new coaching staff could provide the franchise with the injection of energy that it so desperately needs.