New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has been taking his time filling out his coaching staff. There were rumblings that Rasheed Wallace would be on the staff but those rumors have yet to be confirmed. The former Detroit Pistons star wasn’t up for the top assistant job as Ham had his eyes on another for the closest seat next to him on the bench.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are hiring Chris Jent as the top assistant.
Jent spent the last six years as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks. Prior to that, he bounced around all over the NCAA and NBA. Notably, he was an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2006 to 2011 where he coached LeBron James for most of that tenure. He also has close ties to Ham as they were both on Mike Budenholzer’s in Atlanta for a season.
With the Jent hiring, the Lakers now have a coach who has worked with both LeBron and Ham, which should be an asset as the new coaching staff comes in.
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Jent Has a Background as a Player
Jent has been a coach for close to two decades now but he also had an extensive career as a player. The former Ohio State guard won a championship with the Houston Rockets in 1994. He also spent time with the New York Knicks. Both of those stints were brief and Jent did most of his playing in leagues outside of the NBA.
That said, similar to Ham, Jent’s experience as a player should help him handle a team like the Lakers that is filled with superstar talent. As Ham’s top assistant, Jent will have a lot of responsibilities. The first order of business is figuring out how to get a roster of ill-fitting pieces to play well on the court.
Lakers Lose Quinton Crawford
Ham wasn’t interested in bringing back every coach from Frank Vogel’s previous tenure. David Fizdale and Mike Penberthy were shown the door upon his hiring. Ham didn’t completely want to clean house, though. He was able to retain Phil Handy, who is considered one of the best shooting coaches in the NBA.
Ham also wanted to keep Quinton Crawford around as he’s considered an up-and-coming young coach. Unfortunately, the coach had different ideas. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Crawford has decided to join the Dallas Mavericks and Jason Kidd.
Crawford and Kidd were familiar with each other as they were recently under Vogel on the Lakers’ coaching staff. Ham will now have to find another coach to join the team. Unlike Vogel, he has been given complete power to choose his staff and he’s taking his time. Wallace is likely to join the staff eventually but there will be a couple of more spots to fill. He shouldn’t have a difficult time as the Lakers are still one of the most attractive destinations in the NBA.