Some were upset that Mark Jackson had not made the final cut. In contrast, others were excited at the prospect of Darvin Ham joining the team, even noting that their fierce rivals, the Boston Celtics, were experiencing some success with assistant turned head coach Ime Udoka.
However, one media member was unimpressed with Lakers’ final-three candidates and has been vocal about their choices. According to ESPN’S Stephen A Smith, the Lakers have made a mistake with their potential coaching selections, as he doesn’t believe any of the shortlisted candidates have the resume to command respect from a star-studded locker room.
“I want to be very respectful and honest when I say this. I don’t like any of these choices, none of them. All three of these coaches deserve to be head coaches in the NBA; this is not about them. I’m saying that the nonsense we witnessed this year in Los Angeles, the new head coach of that franchise has to be somebody of that cache to galvanize that front office, the fans to the point where the players feel compelled to capitulate to the coaches wishes,” Smith said on a recent episode of NBA Countdown.
LeBron Favors Darvin Ham
While all of the Lakers star players have remained quiet about their coaching preferences in the media, it recently emerged that LeBron James has made his feelings clear regarding who he would like the Lakers’ next head coach to be.
Originally, LeBron was rumored to have favored Mark Jackson. Still, once it became apparent the former Golden State Warriors coach was no longer in the running, LeBron reportedly threw his support behind Darvin Ham.
“He’s the guy LeBron wants,” A source told Bleacher Report and Eric Pincus.
However, it’s worth noting that Ham is the only candidate remaining that doesn’t boast head coaching experience at the NBA level, and it remains to be seen if the Lakers hold that against him or view it as another feather in his cap. But, with the team’s star player in his corner, Ham can feel confident in getting a fair opportunity to land the role in the coming weeks.
Juwan Howard Turned Down Interview
Everybody knows how rigorous the Lakers’ new head coaching search has been, and considering how poor the team was throughout the 2021-22 NBA season, the front office had no choice but to make sure they got the next coaching hire right.
However, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, not every candidate the team reached out to reciprocated their interest. Juwan Howard reportedly turned down the opportunity to interview with the Lakers front office.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Howard would have made it through to the final round of interviews, but as a well-respected collegiate coach, you would expect him to have made a lasting impression. It’s also worth noting that Howard already has a relationship with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, with Wojnarowski reporting that the pair played together at Michigan.
Regardless of Howard’s decision, the Lakers have three strong coaching candidates to choose from and will likely make a decision in the coming weeks to begin turning their attention towards the off-season and rebuilding a roster that fell criminally short his year.