The Lakers are currently sorting out selecting their next head coach. It might not be the star-studded candidate pool, headlined by Quin Snyder and Doc Rivers, that the Lakers and fans were hoping for, but Darvin Ham is a name that has plenty of intrigue.
Ham's well-regarded in NBA circles and has been an assistant in the league dating back to his first job on Mike Brown's Lakers staff in 2011. This week, one Western Conference executive praised Ham and noted that he isn't "a pushover by any means" according to a report from Heavy.com's Sean Denevey.
If Ham has the onions to tell LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook how the cow eats the cabbage, and in turn, strategically maximize the roster's potential, then he's the right man for the job.
Bringing in a rookie head coach to helm a team with three All-Stars has it's challenges, which is why if Ham gets the job, how he builds out his assistant staff will be crucial. Which is why Substack.com's Marc Stein thinks that the Lakers should make a concerted effort to bring Stotts on as an assistant.
"If the Lakers have no shot at a more established coach like Rivers or Utah’s Quin Snyder, my presumption, frankly, is that they would want to hire Ham as head coach and try to convince Stotts to accept a top assistant/offensive coordinator role that he’s overqualified for."
The approach of having overqualified assistants has worked in the past for the Lakers. Frank Vogel shared the bench with Lionel Hollins and Jason Kidd during the Lakers 2020 championship run. Kidd and Hollins had significant head coaching experience and could aid Vogel in getting through to LeBron, AD, and the rest of LA's veterans.
That success cuts both ways though. The Lakers front office, not Vogel, hand-picked Hollins and Kidd. Their hands-on approach to stocking the staff was one of the main reasons LA was unable to ink Tyron Lue (in addition to low-balling him during contract negotiations) and hired Vogel.
If Stotts was willing pull out of the Hornets coaching search and accept a top assistant role with the Lakers, would Ham be on board with the front office selecting his lead assistant?
The longtime Blazers head coach is an established name with an offensive acumen who could help shepherd Ham in his first year as a head coach in the NBA.
Considering that the Lakers were unwilling to pay Scott Brooks top dollar last year to add him to Vogel's staff, there's no assurance that the front office would entertain the idea of investing in making Stotts a top assistant this summer.
It's the right move, but probably not a Lakers move.