Los Angeles Lakers reveal three head coach candidates, per reports
May 21, 2022
Since the departure of Frank Vogel from the head coach position and underwhelming regular season performance, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly narrowed down their candidates to three people, according to The Athletic's senior NBA insider Shams Charania.
Those three candidates are former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham are in the final round of interviews for the Lakers' head coaching position. Kenny Atkinson, former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors, is also on the shortlist.
The Lakers terminated Vogel in April after three seasons and an utterly disappointing 33-49 record in 2021-2022, leaving the top basketball coaching position available. The team missed the playoffs despite having superstars like Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook on the roster, regardless of Vogel's success in the COVID-shortened season two years ago and brought the championship back to Los Angeles.
Lakers head coach job: Three veterans move on to final round
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and former coach Phil Jackson have been rumored to actively search for a new head coach since before the NBA playoffs began and were leaning towards the Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers. However, it now appears that the person who will lead the team next season is about to be decided shortly.
Charania revealed the shortlisted candidates on his Twitter account, expecting between Ham, Atkinson, and Stotts to be selected by Buss to replace Vogel for the upcoming season.
"Sources: Finalists for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job: Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. Next stage of interviews are expected to take place in-person in Los Angeles," Charania wrote.
Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka shared his thoughts on who should take the helm next.
“With obviously, superstars on our team… [Lakers] want a strong voice that’s able to inspire the players to play at the highest level of competition every night," Pelinka said. "And I think that’s gonna be one of the resounding qualities that we look for in terms of holding everybody, from the top player on our team to the 15th man, to a degree of accountability.”
Ham previously served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2011 to 2013 under Mike Brown and Mike D'Antoni. It was his first coaching job in the league prior to coaching the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee won the title last year together with Mike Budenholzer's leadership during his four-year tenure. If hired, this would be his first opportunity to be an NBA head coach.
Stotts has the most experience among the other two coaches. His career in the league dates back to 1994 and he has served on three different teams. After the 2020-21 season, Stotts was let go from the Portland Trail Blazers, where he spent nine seasons with the team. He had a 402-318 record and reached the playoffs in all seasons but one. He also once brought the team to the Western Conference finals.
Atkinson spent one season with the Los Angeles Clippers before joining Steve Kerr and the Warriors in August 2021. The Brooklyn Nets were his only head coaching experience from 2016 to 2020 before he was replaced by Steve Nash. He went 118-190 and failed to advance past the first round of playoffs. Atkinson later decided to step down as head coach of the Nets in March 2020.