Darvin Ham Takes Stand Amid Rumored Discontent in Lakers’ Locker Room

Austin Reaves, Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Head coach Darvin Ham and Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have had to weather the storm, going 3-10 since they last won back-to-back games following their 127-113 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on January 5.

Their struggles have brought about questions over Head Coach Darvin Ham’s job security, with Shams Charania and Jova Buha of The Athletic reporting on growing discontent in the locker room over Ham’s continued shuffling of the starting lineup and rotations.

Ham addressed those rumors in no uncertain terms.

“I’m solid,” Ham said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN on January 5. “My governor, Jeanie Buss, the boss lady; our president, Robert Pelinka — we’re all aligned. As long as they’re not saying it, I guess I’m good. Which I know how they feel about me and the situation we’re currently in.”

Ham said communication with LeBron James and Anthony Davis has been at a “high level”.

James left the court early in each of the last two games and skipped his media availability after the loss.

Austin Reaves Among Lakers at Odds With Darvin Ham

Ham has pointed to the Lakers’ myriad injuries for their constant lineup changes and lack of chemistry on the court. Austin Reaves pushed back on that idea amid reports he, specifically, is at odds with Ham.

“I’ve heard it very clearly that, for whatever reason, Ham just doesn’t mess with Austin in the way that you would think he would,” said Anthony Irwin on the “Lakers Lounge” podcast on December 29. “It needs to get fixed. And this might escalate all the way to where an agent gets involved or the front office gets involved.”

Ham removed Reaves from the starting lineup, bringing him off the bench in one of his attempts to spark the Lakers amid a disappointing start.

The results have not come, though, sparking rumors about Ham.

“There’s currently a deepening disconnect between Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room,” Charania and Buha wrote on January 4. “The disjointedness between the coach and team has stemmed from the extreme rotation and starting lineup adjustments recently from Ham.”

The Lakers re-signed Reaves on a four-year, $53.8 million contract this past offseason.

He has been more productive off the bench, scoring 0.3 points per game more than he did as a starter in roughly four fewer minutes.

For Ham, all of the chatter “comes with the territory”.

Darvin Ham Calls Out Anonymous Sourcing

“This seems to be the standard of reporting now for NBA. People on the internet and whatever,” Ham said, per McMenamin.

“When you say the source is anonymous by choice, and they don’t want to put their name on something but they want to give you the information, and then you take the information and now everybody gets a chance to dissect it and spread it all out in their own way, it’s kind of disingenuous.”

Ham was clear that he was not trying to implicate all reporters in his charge. But he said he wished discourse had reached a point where sources were willing to attach their names to their comments.

He also again pointed to the impact the Lakers’ injuries have had.

“Injuries are a real part of professional sports,” Ham said. “And our performance team, they bust their behinds to make sure our players are available and able to play at a high level. But guys have physical issues that sometimes … Playing our game — I think we have the best athletes in all of sports all around the world — you’re going to subject your body to certain issues.”