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Why the Lakers fired Darvin Ham


The Lakers are in the market for a new head coach.

After two seasons at the helm, the Lakers have fired Darvin Ham, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

It was a frustrating season for Los Angeles, which entered 2023-24 with championship expectations but fell to Denver in the first round of the playoffs. The team’s struggles were particularly surprising given the play and health of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Of the 28 head coaches in franchise history, Ham ranks 14th in wins and 19th in win percentage.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Lakers’ decision to fire Ham.

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The Lakers hired Ham before the 2022-23 season. In his first year as head coach, Los Angeles posted a 43-39 record, earning the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. Despite having to secure a spot for the playoffs through the Play-In Tournament, the Lakers made a run to the Western Conference Finals, falling to the eventual champion Nuggets in four games.

The Lakers entered the 2023-24 season with the sixth-best odds to win the championship but hovered around .500 for over half of the season and found themselves back in Play-In territory. Their season ended with a first-round loss to the Nuggets in five games.

On Jan. 4, 2024, the Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jovan Buha reported that there was a “deepening disconnect” between Ham and the Lakers locker room, citing six sources with direct knowledge of the situation. The disconnect stemmed from Ham’s “extreme rotation and starting lineup adjustments.”

Under Ham, Los Angeles experimented with 19 different starting lineups in 2023-24.

The Lakers were average on both ends of the court this season, ranking 15th in offensive efficiency and 17th in defensive efficiency. James and Rui Hachimura were among the players who mentioned communication as one of the team’s problems.

The Lakers compiled a 90-74 record during Ham’s time as head coach.

Under Ham, the team reached the Conference Finals in the 2022-23 season and defeated the Pacers in the final of the first-ever In-Season Tournament in the 2023-24 season. However, Los Angeles fell in five games to Denver in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. 

Ham signed a four-year contract to become head coach of the Lakers in 2022. The terms of his deal were not disclosed.

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