With the Lakers finding themselves under .500 and struggling to stay in play-in position as we enter the second half of the season for the second year in a row, there are a lot of questions as to why.
Is this roster good enough to compete and if not, what players can the Lakers trade away for an upgrade? The Lakers have been connected with many guards, including Dejounte Murray, Collin Sexton and Bruce Brown Jr., which is common when L.A. struggles to meet expectations.
If the players aren’t the main culprit for the underachieving team, the next likely place to look is the head coach.
In his two seasons at the helm, Darvin Ham has a regular season record of 65-62, not exactly an impressive record for an organization focused on adding more championship banners to their stadium.
Although to be fair, he did raise the In-Season Tournament banner this year and was commended last season for how he navigated this team to a Western Conference Finals appearance.
No player has gone on the record to complain about Ham, but it’s been reported that ‘a lot of agents’ have complained about him and when there’s smoke, there’s fire. Add to that the context of the recent firing of Milwaukee Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin despite being the No. 2 seed in the East and it’s clear no coach is safe.
Is Ham next on the hot seat and would the Lakers fire him midseason?
On the Hoops Hype podcast, Jovan Buha of The Athletic said Lakers fans shouldn’t expect Ham out unless a massive losing streak happens.
I think he’s safe through the rest of the season. If things went completely haywire and the Lakers lost six, seven, or eight games in a row and you see them spiraling down the standings, that’s where maybe things get wobbly. I had the report with Shams earlier in the month after that Miami loss and the Lakers were trending in that direction. They lost four games in a row for the second time in a few weeks. There was some disconnect in the locker room and players were upset about their roles and rotations. I don’t think that stuff is entirely gone.
Fans may be frustrated with Ham, but once you take all the context of the situation, it makes sense that Ham is here to stay. For one, vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka made the decision, along with ownership, to hire Ham. Firing him a season and a half in means it was a bad hire and how much of that falls on the decision makers?
It’s human nature not to want to admit a mistake and give the guy you believed in more time to prove you right.
Factor in the roster's lack of a bonafide third star or consistent play from its rotation players and Pelinka might think upgrading the roster puts Ham in a position to make a playoff push just like he did last season.
The NBA landscape can change quickly, but it seems unlikely the Lakers will have a collapse of the magnitude Buha describes for any change to happen coaching-wise this season.
This summer? That might be a different story, but for now, if the Lakers want to improve, it seems like that has to happen within its players or via a trade.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.