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The Los Angeles Lakers closed the book on the Frank Vogel chapter last month. Since then, they've been slowly working on finding his replacement.

At this point, it seems the Lakers are nearing the end of their search. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Los Angeles has three finalists currently in mind.

Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, who is no stranger to the Lakers' organization, reportedly remains in play for the LA job. Ham, who started coaching under Mike Budenholzer in 2018, had a stint as an assistant with the Lakers from 2011 to 2013.

Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson has also been mentioned as a finalist. Unlike Ham, Atkinson's resume includes head coaching experience. After coaching as an assistant on the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks' bench, Atkinson garnered a head coaching position with the Brooklyn Nets in 2016. 

After four seasons as Brooklyn's head coach, Atkinson and the organization parted ways. Since then, Atkinson has held coaching positions on the Los Angeles Clippers and now with the Warriors.

Lastly, the Lakers are also eyeing up former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Coaching in the NBA since the 90s, Stotts has had three different stints as a head coach. His most recent coaching job was in Portland, where he coached the Blazers for nine seasons. After taking the past season off, Stotts could be back in charge of a team as the Lakers remain intrigued with him. 

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What Does This Mean for Philly?

The Philadelphia 76ers were connected to the Lakers' head coaching search because Los Angeles reportedly had an interest in potentially snagging Doc Rivers if he were to become available.

As the Sixers found themselves eliminated from the 2022 NBA Playoffs in the second round for the second-straight season, many believed that could spell the end for Rivers in Philadelphia. In that case, the Lakers would be at the front of the line to scoop Rivers up.

However, last week, Rivers made it clear that he wasn't worried about losing his Sixers' job after dropping Game 6. The following day, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey confirmed Rivers wasn't going anywhere.

Therefore, all of the Lakers noise means nothing. And Los Angeles will proceed with its head coach search without putting another thought into hiring Rivers.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


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