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The Los Angeles Lakers clearly aren’t looking to make a major splash with their coaching hire. They just want someone who fits.
That would be a good start when you consider this past season of utter clunky-ness.
According to multiple reports, former Brooklyn Nets coach Terry Stotts, former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts and current Milwaukee Bucks coach Darvin Ham have advanced to the final round of coaching interviews in good old LA.
Stotts coached the Blazers for nine years, and they made the playoffs in the final eight. Then he was let go, in favor of Chauncey Billups. The Blazers didn’t make the playoffs, but that was likely less the fault of Billups and more the result of injuries and some chaos in the front office.
Meanwhile, Ham has been an assistant under Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer since 2014, first with the Atlanta Hawks. Of the three listed finalists, Ham is the only one without head-coaching experience. He is also the only one with a championship ring, as the Bucks won it all in 2021.
Atkinson coached the Nets from 2016-20, compiling a 118-190 record and leading them to the playoffs in 2019. He was fired just before the season was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.
He currently serves as an assistant under Tyronn Lue with the Clippers, and has been an assistant with the Knicks and Hawks, too.
The Lakers are looking to replace Frank Vogel, fired after three seasons and one title (2020).
For the record, Lakers coach Phil Jackson is serving as an advisor, and is reportedly has a big say in who will become their next main man on the sideline.