US basketball

New direction taken: Lakers fire head coach Darvin Ham after 2 seasons


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New direction taken: Lakers fire head coach Darvin Ham after 2 seasons

GONE FISHING. Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham (R) and assistant coach Chris Jent (L) gesture in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets during game five of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

After an up-and-down two-year stretch that included a Western Conference Finals berth and a subsequent first-round playoff exit, the Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Darvin Ham

The Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Darvin Ham on Friday (Saturday, May 4, Manila time) after two seasons and a 90-74 regular-season record.

“We greatly appreciate Darvin’s efforts on behalf of the Lakers and recognize the many accomplishments achieved over the past two seasons including last year’s remarkable run to the Western Conference finals,” general manager Rob Pelinka said in a team-released statement.

“We all want to thank Darvin for his dedication and positivity. While this was a difficult decision to make, it is the best course of action following a full review of the season. This organization will remain unwavering in its commitment to deliver championship-caliber basketball to Lakers fans around the world.”

The Lakers finished the regular season with a 47-35 mark, good enough for only an eighth-place finish in the Western Conference. They defeated the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in round to earn the No. 7 seed in the playoffs but were bounced by the Denver Nuggets in the opening round, 4-1.

The Nuggets also defeated the Lakers last season in the conference finals on the way to their first NBA title.

All had seemed optimistic in Lakers land when the team roared to the title in the NBA in-season tournament with a 123-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Las Vegas on Dec. 9.

But a 3-9 stretch followed, and reports emerged of growing unrest between the players and Ham, 50.

The Lakers hired Ham on June 3, 2022, to replace Frank Vogel following a 33-49 record in 2021-22, two years removed from winning the NBA championship. It was Ham’s first NBA head coaching job.

Lakers fans chanted “Fire Darvin Ham” in Game 3 of the series with the Nuggets. After the game, All-Star Anthony Davis said the Lakers “don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor” for stretches of games.

“It’s been a hell of a two years sitting in this seat, I’ll tell you that. It’s been a hell of a two years,” Ham said Monday after the Game 5 loss. –

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