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Lakers News: “Fire Ham” Trending as Team Faces Elimination

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Lakers News: This Season, Los Angeles Lakers had a Coaching Problem. “Fire Ham” Trends as Team Faces Elimination that Brings Pressure to Head Coach Darvin Ham.

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The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a precarious position as they head into a crucial Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets. A brutal loss in Game 4, marked by another shaky third quarter, has cranked up the pressure on head coach Darvin Ham.

Fans at Staples Center weren’t shy about voicing their frustrations. Chants of “Fire Ham” echoed through the arena after the defeat, reflecting the growing dissatisfaction with the team’s performance.

This intense scrutiny stems from the high expectations placed on the Lakers. Despite a strong regular season record (reportedly 90-74), their recent struggles and playoff woes have left many yearning for more. The specter of a first-round exit looms large, potentially leading to a coaching change.

lakers news playoffs

Here’s a closer look at the situation:

  • Job Security on the Line: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that a Game 5 loss could spell the end for Ham. With the Lakers boasting a talented roster featuring LeBron James, a first-round ousting would be seen as a major disappointment.
  • Inconsistency Plagues Lakers: The Lakers have shown flashes of brilliance throughout the season, but lapses in focus and defensive breakdowns have hampered their progress. Coach Ham’s ability to address these issues and get the team to play consistently will be under heavy scrutiny.
  • Western Conference Finals Repeat a Distant Memory? Last year’s improbable run to the Western Conference Finals as a seventh seed now seems like a distant memory. The Lakers need to rediscover that underdog spirit and fight if they want to extend their season.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for the Lakers and Darvin Ham. A win in Denver keeps their championship hopes alive, while a loss could trigger significant changes within the organization. NBA fans around the world will be watching with bated breath to see how this drama unfolds. Offering NBA Playoff Bets

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Lakers news: Fire Ham or Find Answers? Lakers Face Difficult Decision

The Lakers narrowly avoided elimination in Game 5, but the victory only buys them a temporary reprieve. The “Fire Ham” chants may have subsided for now, but the underlying issues plaguing the team remain.

The front office faces a crucial decision: back Ham and hope he can turn things around, or make a change at the helm.

Arguments for Sticking with Ham:

  • First Year Coach: This is Ham’s first season as a head coach. Coaching a team with championship aspirations comes with immense pressure. Granting him another year to implement his system and build team chemistry could be beneficial.
  • Roster Challenges: The Lakers’ roster construction has its limitations. Injuries and the aging core have hampered their overall athleticism and defensive prowess. Ham may deserve more time to find ways to maximize this specific group.

Arguments for a Coaching Change:

  • Lack of Adjustments: Critics point to Ham’s perceived inflexibility. Opponents have repeatedly exploited the Lakers’ weaknesses, particularly in the third quarter. The team needs a coach who can adapt and make adjustments on the fly.
  • Player Frustration: Reports surfaced earlier in the season about player dissatisfaction with rotations and coaching decisions. Unrest in the locker room could be a harbinger of bigger problems down the line.

Possible Alternatives:

If the Lakers decide to part ways with Ham, several names could emerge as potential replacements. Assistant coach Phil Handy, who reportedly had player support earlier this season, could be considered. Veteran coaches like Doc Rivers or Rick Carlisle might also be in the mix.

Another ‘atrocious’ third quarter leaves Lakers on the brink as brutal coach chant breaks out

LeBron James was called for a crucial foul on a Jamal Murray miss with 57.1 seconds remaining in Game 2 of the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets.

This put the young, talented guard on the free-throw line with an opportunity to tie the game. Although the Last Two Minute report would subsequently show that the contact was in fact a foul, the contact clearly seemed marginal upon first viewing, and there wouldn’t have been much of a cost to contesting the ruling.

The Lakers still had two timeouts remaining, and even if they had lost the challenge, the delay caused by the officials reviewing the play would have provided much-needed respite to an older, weary Lakers squad playing at an altitude.

Darvin Ham made no changes at all, having earlier presided over the collapse of a 20-point second-half advantage with few changes. Murray’s free shots were made. At the buzzer, Denver prevailed.

He let slip a fantastic chance to take home court advantage against a team that had so comprehensively destroyed the Lakers during his coaching career. The Lakers ultimately lost the series 4-1 after falling to the defending champions in Game 5, 108-106, despite having the lead for the most of the game.

lakers news fire ham

It was a moment that mirrored many aspects of Ham’s second season as the Lakers’ coach. There were a lot of “what ifs” throughout this season because almost all of the supporting players had injuries at some point.

Aside from James and Anthony Davis, the two centerpieces, the front management did not provide Ham with any dependable two-way players. The team appeared to lose motivation for a month following the In-Season Tournament.

Macroeconomically, the early season was doomed by his rejection of what had worked up to the Western Conference Finals the previous year. During the 2023 playoffs, Rui Hachimura was perhaps the fourth-best Laker.

The management office assumed he would play a big part in his first full season with the team when they re-signed him to a lucrative three-year contract. As it turned out, Jarred Vanderbilt’s injury appeared to have freed up a forward starting slot.

On opening night, Hachimura played for less than fifteen minutes. Taurean Prince, a free agent signee whom Ham briefly crossed paths with in Atlanta, was Ham’s choice for the starting position. At least one other player took issue with Ham’s fondness for players he had coached prior to moving to Los Angeles.

D’Angelo Russell believed that Dennis Schroder, another former Hawk from Ham’s Atlanta days, was a contributing factor in his struggles to establish himself in Los Angeles. In a March profile, he said to McMenamin, “The reason I couldn’t have a relationship with Darvin is his relationship with Darvin.”

For Laker supporters, Prince’s miscast role as a starter became a recurring source of annoyance. In spite of Prince playing fewer than 25 minutes a game, they won their first 13 games and went on to finish the season 28-8. Still, Prince maintained his starting spot even after Vanderbilt came back. Now that he was back, the Lakers had every piece needed to field their best team.

The fivesome of James, Davis, Russell, Vanderbilt, and Austin Reaves, who began the season at the end and continued into the postseason, outscored opponents by 37 points in 77 minutes of regular season play and nine in 177 minutes of postseason play.

Although the sample was tiny, the fit was simple. In order to relieve Reaves and Russell of the burden, Vanderbilt might take on difficult defensive responsibilities. Vanderbilt’s offensive shortcomings were sufficiently compensated for by Russell and Reaves’ additional shooting and playmaking.

During the 2023–24 season, that lineup only combined for 32 minutes of play and did not even start a single game. With a +27 plus-minus, it was still the second-highest of any Laker lineup this season. Which lineup came in first place? The four starting for the opening night… alongside Hachimura. That group was not formed by Ham until February 1. It ended with a score of 18–6.

Smaller-scale, but conceptually related errors can be found in any number of unique games. For example, in a December loss to the Mavericks, Ham’s complete refusal to protect Dante Exum proved to be the difference.

In that contest, the journeyman wing made nine attempts at 3-pointers. In no other game this season did he take more than five. However, tracking data indicated that eight of those shots were wide-open. He produced seven. Dallas prevailed by a margin of two.

Such losses were wearing on the club, as were the subsequent lineup adjustments. James has, at least once, acknowledged to defying his coach on a tactical decision. The Athletic stated in January that there was “a deepening disconnect between Ham and the Lakers locker room.”

After a crucial victory over the Clippers in March, he noted on Mind the Game, his podcast with JJ Redick, “We had switching built in versus Kawhi and versus James [Harden] and whatever the case may be and I vetoed it in the second half.” Yes, James did cover Leonard in the last moments.

Ham felt compelled to defend his coaching staff following that loss, in direct response to what Davis said, even though he did not specifically mention them when he said, “We have stretches where we don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor.”

The Nuggets’ victory in Game 5, which ended the series, served as a somewhat devastating cherry on top of Ham’s shortcomings throughout his sophomore campaign.

Denver went on a 14-2 run late in the third quarter thanks to Ham, and without a timeout in between, they went from leading by nine points to behind by three. Denver has been on this kind of run for the entire series. Ham watched it happen once more.

In the fourth quarter, he found himself on the opposite end of the timeout management spectrum for whatever reason. This time, he made the voluntary decision to forfeit his last timeout in order to contest Davis’ foul call.

The challenge was successful, but as it was their second of the game, the Lakers were forced to play without timeouts for the last 3:04 of play. Murray sank his game-winning shot with four seconds left. Without using a timeout to advance the ball, the Lakers’ best reaction was a 40-foot Prince heave.

The fact that Murray won was a direct result of the terrible habits that Ham has allowed to develop throughout the season. The play-call made by Denver was an empty-side pick-and-roll. Murray was on one side of the court with Nikola Jokic. On the other side, Denver’s final three players were grouped together.

The Lakers were more than covered at the rim with James as the low-man and in the corner and wing with Prince, so the logical defensive response to this play-call would have been for one of those weakside defenders to offer assistance at the nail as the shot-clock expired. The obvious assistant would have been Hachimura.

When Prince realized what was going on, he made an attempt to force Hachimura into the play. Hachimura, though, stayed there and saw Murray’s jumper come down.

All of this is not to minimize the challenge of the work that Ham was assigned to complete. In his 21 NBA seasons, James has had eight different head coaches. He’s a demanding player who creates pressure just by being around.

Rob Pelinka assembled a horribly flawed roster. The majority of the players in it had a strong emphasis on either offense or defense. Before Ham ultimately accepted the all-offense nature of his roster, a great deal of his early-season lineup decisions were motivated by a desperation to find balance.

Scouting is usually this front office’s strong suit. It was confusing at the time to take Jalen Hood-Schifino, a project point guard for a team that wasn’t exactly short in ball handling, with the No. 17 overall choice.

After ten months, it appears to be on the verge of catastrophe. Jaime Jaquez Jr., Brandin Podziemski, and Cam Whitmore were the next three selections. At positions with more need, all three of these contenders are All-Rookies. Pelinka did not set up Ham for success.

And for good reason—Ham may, and most likely will, return for a third season. These choices often have a human factor that takes precedence over the team’s best interests.

The same stakeholders who recruited Ham would have to decide whether to terminate him. As a front office, there’s only so many coaching changes you can make before ownership starts to question your motives.

James proposed the Russell Westbrook trade, which Pelinka carried out. They made it through Westbrook’s time with the Lakers. Frank Vogel, the former head coach, didn’t. When the outcomes continue to be unsatisfactory after Vogel leaves, it becomes much more difficult to blame him for the deal’s failure.

This season has left a lot of people with unfinished business, and the next one will undoubtedly have even more. This isn’t a roster fit for a championship. However, their recent season suggests that they also probably lack a coach deserving of a championship. Perhaps Ham could develop into one.

“Maybes” won’t cut it as James’s season, which begins at age forty, approaches. The Lakers have little control over the delicate process of roster correction. They are unable to compel a different side to trade them the desired players.

However, they have the ability to alter their coaching. The Lakers won’t be in contention for anything come springtime if Ham has another season like this one. While a coaching change wouldn’t make this team perfect, it should at least address the kinds of fundamental errors that have kept the Lakers back the whole season.

Even while they might not win the championship again with that, it would still be an improvement over their recent first-round loss.

Lakers Future

Predicting the Lakers’ future is tricky. They’ve got a championship-caliber coach in Doc Rivers and LeBron James re-signed, but challenges remain. Their roster lacks athleticism and shooting, and Anthony Davis’ health is a question mark.

Success hinges on Rivers’ ability to integrate his system and the Lakers’ ability to improve the roster. If they can address these issues and build a cohesive unit, they could be back in title contention. However, if their struggles continue, a period of transition with a potential LeBron departure might be on the horizon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to the Lakers’ coach?

The Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Darvin Ham after a disappointing first-round playoff exit.

Who is the new Lakers coach?

The Lakers hired Doc Rivers, a veteran coach with a championship ring, to lead the team.

Did LeBron James re-sign with the Lakers?

Yes, LeBron James re-signed with the Lakers, indicating his belief in the team’s direction under Doc Rivers.

Are the Lakers contenders again?

The Lakers have a chance to contend, but they face challenges. Their roster needs improvement, particularly in athleticism and shooting. Anthony Davis’ health is also a concern.

What happened to Coach Darvin Ham?

The Lakers parted ways with Ham after a disappointing first-round playoff exit. Inconsistency and defensive struggles were cited as reasons for the change.


After a disappointing first-round playoff exit, the Lakers fired coach Darvin Ham and brought in championship-winning coach Doc Rivers.

LeBron James re-signed, but the team still faces challenges. They need to improve their roster’s athleticism and shooting, and Anthony Davis’ health is a concern.

The Lakers’ future hinges on Doc Rivers’ coaching and their ability to make smart roster moves. If they can overcome these obstacles, they could be back in title contention. Otherwise, a period of transition with a possible LeBron departure looms large.


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