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Lakers Rumors: Terry Stotts Interviews for HC Job; Ham, Atkinson to Meet with LA

Erin WalshMay 25, 2022

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers head coaching search has received yet another update following the news that the team had narrowed down its list of candidates to three finalists.

The Lakers hosted former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts for an in-person interview on Tuesday for their vacant head coaching position, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson are expected to meet with the Lakers in the near future, Wojnarowski added.

Stotts is said to be "intrigued with potentially coaching Russell Westbrook and believes he can help him be more effective and comfortable with his role than he was last season," according to NBA.com's Mark Medina

The Lakers' search for a new head coach is expected to take some time. General manager Rob Pelinka told reporters last month that it would be a "thorough and methodical" process.

The franchise's interest in Stotts comes as no surprise. The 64-year-old has 13 years of head coaching experience, most recently leading the Trail Blazers from 2012-21.

In his nine seasons as Portland's head coach, Stotts went 402-318 in the regular season and 22-40 in the playoffs. He led the Trail Blazers to eight straight playoff appearances but made just one appearance in the Western Conference Finals.

He has also coached the Atlanta Hawks (2002-04) and Milwaukee Bucks (2005-07).

Meanwhile, Ham has made the "strongest impression," according to The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick

"In terms of the Lakers' preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy."

That said, the Lakers "have not completely abandoned hope" that Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers will become available this summer, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. Rivers would be one of the team's top candidates if he was made available. 

The Lakers' head coaching position will be one of the most difficult jobs in the NBA in 2022-23. The next bench boss will be tasked with getting Russell Westbrook back to form and managing the workloads of veterans LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who each dealt with injuries during the 2021-22 campaign.

In addition, the Lakers likely won't have much cap space to make any significant acquisitions in free agency, which doesn't bode well for their chances next season. 

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