The spotlight has been awfully bright on the Lakers over the last two days, and rightfully so after a loss as they had against the Heat. A loss at home to kick off 2024 against a Heat team sans Jimmy Butler in a game they trailed throughout and LeBron James was a relative non-factor means the questions are going to be asked.
After a frustrating number of weeks after the In-Season Tournament, Wednesday served as a notable moment when questions really started to be asked about head coach Darvin Ham’s future.
The questions were deserved as the Lakers have spiraled. But, for now, they’re just questions as it doesn’t appear the team is looking to fire Ham, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic (emphasis added).
Yet as we’re reminded every year, there’s a significant difference between the mood around a coach souring and the power brokers above him actually deciding to make a change. With that in mind, a high-ranking Lakers source pushed back against the idea Ham is on the verge of being fired. Still, serious pressure from within is clearly being applied on Ham, and there’s no better way for him to relieve it than by winning his way out in the days and weeks to come.
For now, this is all it should be when it comes to Ham. Turn up the pressure a bit and demand some results that haven’t been there in recent weeks.
Maybe it’s something that kicks the Lakers back into gear. Last season when the team was facing pressure for much of the second half of the season, they delivered time and time again all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Ultimately, the Lakers aren’t that far removed from winning the In-Season Tournament and the vibe around the team being notably different. And the Western Conference Finals run is not something to scoff at. Ham has earned some leeway.
The Lakers also haven’t made an in-season coaching change since Mike Brown in 2013 and while that is a stat that has a lot of context built into it, it also shows a general approach of letting coaches try to figure things out and recognizing that mid-season coaching changes are risky business that can make things unravel even faster.
The lights are shining bright on the Lakers and it’s time they either offer a response to the contrary or show how bad things may truly get.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.