Lakers Committed to Darvin Ham, Focused on Improving Backcourt
Having lost 11 of their past 16 contests and on the heels of an 18-point loss at home to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Lakers remain committed to head coach Darvin Ham, league sources tell Bleacher Report.
Owner Jeanie Buss and president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka have informed the second-year head coach that his job is not in jeopardy, sources say.
That assurance from the top has allowed Ham to purely focus on redirecting his team.
“I speak to Rob every day, and we’re always discussing ways to improve our team and what we can do better as a coaching staff,” Ham told B/R after falling to 19-20 on the season. “It’s an open dialogue that I embrace and that is helpful. We’re all trying to get this right, and we will.”
Ham understands the pressure that exists when coaching the Lakers and LeBron James. When a report from The Athletic surfaced suggesting there was a disconnect between Ham and some of the players, it naturally fueled speculation that he could be on the hot seat a year and a half into his four-year contract.
“I had like 50 texts when I checked my phone that day. I’m not on social media, so I don’t know what people are saying.
But I’m getting text messages saying, ‘Hang in there. Are you OK? It’s going to be OK. I’m here for you.’ I thought somebody died. That was my initial reaction. Then someone sent me story with some unnamed sources and I was like, ‘This s–t?’ Everything is going to be alright. We’ve got a good team. We just got more work to do.”
The Suns have been similarly subpar to start the season at 20-18. In 14 games this season, newcomer Bradley Beal had not scored more than 25 points. On Thursday against the Lakers, though, he produced a season-high 37 points, including eight triples and a Suns season high of 20 third-quarter points.
“We’re allowing everybody, no matter what their numbers are, shoot well against us,” Anthony Davis said after the loss. “If a guy is shooting 10 percent, he’s going to shoot 40 [percent] on us. … We got to play everybody like they’re Steph when they play us. Everybody has shot the ball well against us.”
Davis only scored 13 points in limited time because of the blowout, but he’s been consistently dominant this season.
“I’ve been doing this. Y’all just forgot who I am,” Davis told B/R.
With the Feb. 8 trade deadline approaching, the Lakers are seeking speed and quickness in the backcourt, sources say.
The Lakers want to push the pace offensively and are interested in someone who can serve as a point-of-attack defender.
Rival executives believe the Lakers and Toronto Raptors—among other teams—will begin progressing to more serious discourse with the Atlanta Hawks pertaining to star guard Dejounte Murray, sources say.
But it remains to be seen if the Lakers have enough attractive assets to entice Atlanta. Atlanta is not operating as if Murray has to be dealt by the deadline.
They have made it known in league circles that they’re more than comfortable keeping him in the fold and revisiting his future in the offseason.
Murray has three more guaranteed years left on his deal and a player option for the 2027-28 season.
The Hawks want to continue building around franchise guard Trae Young, as he desperately desires to compete for a championship.
As for the Lakers, Ham is of the mindset that it will all work itself out.
“I don’t know what will happen with our roster, but I like our team,” Ham told B/R. “AD is playing some of his best basketball. LeBron is still LeBron. I believe we will get rolling again. We’ll figure this out.”