Lakers coaching search: Front office priorities and how Darwin Hamm impresses

this lakers Seemingly ready to make a decision on their coaching position soon, Milwaukee Bucks Assistant Darwin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant kenny atkinson and ex Portland Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts Finalists for this work The position was vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at the end of the season.But with the final round of interviews finalized, sources told sports The ham seemed to make the strongest impression.

Now, the final stage of the process will decide who will secure the job. In the final group, Stotts, known for his strong X and O scoring, made the playoffs in eight of his nine seasons in Portland, while Atkinson was described as a sharp-headed and tireless staff.

In terms of Lakers preference, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority in the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the disparate roles and relationships across the roster. . Those traits bode well for Ham’s candidacy. As an assistant coach for the Lakers, eagles On the Bucks and Bucks, sources said, Ham was known for his no-nonsense style and ability to empathize with players — and he’s also been prominent in his interactions with the Lakers so far.

Ham, who hit eight NBA From 1996 to 2008, was the only former NBA player among the three finalists.Yet even before he entered the NBA, Hamm’s reputation as a force of nature was cemented when he breaks the rebound While dunking during the 1996 NCAA Tournament with Texas Tech. Ham, Stotts and Atkinson are considering Charlotte Hornets Vacancy too. Ham is also a key candidate for the Hornets, according to sources.

All three finalists will soon meet with top Lakers officials — including owner Jenny Buss — in Los Angeles for the next in-person phase, sources said. So far, Lakers VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, director of basketball affairs Kurt Rambis, VP of R&D Joey Bass and assistant general manager Jesse Bass have dominated the first phase of coaching interview.

The Lakers interviewed a total of six candidates, including Bucks assistant Charles Lee, Raptors Assistant Adrian Griffin and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson. Lee and Griffin were not excluded as part of the process, the sources said.

“In terms of what this team needs right now, it feels clear that we have superstars on the team and we want a strong voice that inspires players to play at the highest level every night,” Pelinka said. Said April 11 search to the coach. “I think that’s going to be one of the resounding qualities we’re looking for and it’s going to be a lot of features that come up today in terms of holding everyone from the top players in our squad to the 15th man to a degree of responsibility. .”

However, after all the recent talk about influential voices on the Lakers, Jeanie Buss is known to lean towards Phil Jackson and magic As Johnson tries to correct course from such a disastrous 2021-22 season, he can’t help but wonder who’s making the decision here.A source with direct knowledge of the process shared the following insights in this regard track and field:

• Pelinka will lead the committee that will make the final decision. Jeanie Buss has not been involved in the process, she is not a member of the committee and plans to delay its recommendations. Phil Jackson and Johnson are also not part of the committee.

Only Lakers officials — none of them named LeBron James. Although it is known that James will Enthusiastic about the prospect of Mark Jackson Getting the nod here, apparently that’s not the case.

For context, it’s worth checking out the rewind button on the Lakers’ last coaching search three years ago.After narrowing the roster down to Monty Williams, Ty Lue and Juwan Howard, they finally chose Frank Vogel for a variety of long history. Jenny Bass, Kurt & Linda Rambis, COO Tim Harris, Joy Bass & Jesse Bass Join Pelinka in Final Interview .

• Given the many unflattering storylines surrounding the Lakers in recent years, from Magic’s Chaos Exit April 2019 to Jerry West Think they are a “shit show” December 2020 to “I haven’t been told shit yet” Executing such a poorly executed Vogel dismissal, Jeanie Buss is determined to allay all the finalists’ concerns about the organization in the closing stages. Her message will focus on organizational commitment, providing the resources and internal support needed to motivate the team to succeed, sources said.

• this Russell Westbrook Factors still matter here. Candidates were asked to discuss how they would use a lineup that includes Westbrook, who Lakers officials believe will be part of their plans for next season. Westbrook has a player option worth $47 million for the 2022-23 season.

As for the possibility of Westbrook being dropped or sent home (a la houstonof John Wall Last season), none of those are considered viable options if he’s not traded, and all signs point to him playing. With that in mind, the Lakers are focused on hiring a coach who can navigate such sensitive situations.

— athleteBill Oram contributed to this report.

(Photo: Jim Dedmond/USA TODAY)

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