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The Los Angeles Lakers are desperate to regain their status as a perennial playoff team, and the first step toward rising above their ongoing spree of mediocrity is finding the right head coach.
As relayed by HoopsWire / OutKick’s Sam Amico, the Lakers are currently vetting former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham for the role.
Ham is reportedly the front-runner, thanks to LeBron James’ stamp of approval, but according to Amico, the head-coaching net has been cast wider than the three reported picks.
While guys like Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder have seemingly fallen off the list, previously noted candidates such as Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers and Toronto Raptors’ Nick Nurse are still in the picture.
Prestige has long been part of the Lakers head coaching gig.
Since that bygone era, a number of elements have gone south for LA.
The Lakers’ next coach will have to juggle an unfit GM, an NBA legend on the back nine of his career, Russell Westbrook’s bloated contract (alongside his ill-fitting role) and a collection of Lakers execs trying to recapture the late Dr. Jerry Buss’ magic without a cogent plan in place.
Lakers owner Jeannie Buss even called on retired coach Phil Jackson to aid in the team’s search for a new head coach. He was also involved in the organization’s hiring of Frank Vogel, who was ousted after three seasons and one NBA championship with the Lakers.
LA finished 33-49 in the regular season and 11th in the Western Conference standings. They missed the playoffs despite a very generous play-in tournament format and still find themselves short one additional All-Star to help LeBron and Anthony Davis carry the team.