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Report: Lakers hiring Darvin Ham as coach

Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 08: Acting head coach Darvin Ham of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during the second half of the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on January 08, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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The Lakers have had enough drama for the year.

Rather than an 11th-hour surprise, they’re just hiring the presumed favorite in their coaching search – Bucks assistant Darvin Ham.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

A first-time NBA head coach, Ham takes over a team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and therefore high expectations. Especially because LeBron is 37, Ham will have little time to find his footing.

Of course, the Lakers also have – and, at this point, will probably keep – Russell Westbrook. It’ll be on Ham to better integrate the ill-fitting and declining point guard. Good luck.

In Ham, the Lakers get someone highly respected. Undrafted in 1996, he carved out an eight-year NBA playing career – including winning a championship with the 2004 Pistons – with hustle and toughness. He has worked nine years with the Hawks then Bucks as an assistant under Mike Budenholzer, maybe the league’s best coach at cutting out bad habits from his teams. Ham carries himself with straightforward demeanor that commands respect.

Ham actually began his NBA coaching career as a Lakers assistant in 2011. Those two seasons in Los Angeles are minor lines on his resumé, but they might have taken outsized importance to this insular franchise.

Even if hired for the wrong reasons, this could be a good choice. Ham topped many lists of assistant overdue to become a head coach.

Now, he gets his chance – with a premier franchise that wants to get right back into championship contention despite genuine roster issues.