The Los Angeles Lakers formally announced the hiring of new head coach Darvin Ham on Friday after the sides agreed to a multiyear contract.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka praised Ham, a former NBA forward who spent the past four seasons as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks:
"When someone begins his NBA coaching career at the G League level and goes all the way through playing an integral role on the front bench of an NBA championship team, it really speaks to a certain strength of character. Our players and fans will immediately identify with Darvin's no-nonsense and hard-working approach, which we feel will bring toughness and a competitive edge to all we do. When you add that to Darvin's sophisticated grasp of in-game strategy and deep knowledge of the game of basketball, we have the ideal coach for this next chapter in Lakers history. We could not be more honored and proud to name Darvin Ham as our new head coach."
Lakers superstar LeBron James previously expressed excitement about the hire when it was first reported last week:
Ham played 12 professional seasons after going undrafted in 1996. Along with eight years in the NBA, he spent time in Spain, the Philippines and the G League.
While the Lakers' job will be his first head coaching opportunity in the NBA, he did lead the G League's New Mexico Thunderbirds for the 2010-11 season.
The 48-year-old Michigan native then joined the Lakers' staff as an assistant in 2011 before stints with the Bucks and Atlanta Hawks.
Now he returns to L.A. looking to help the organization turn the page after a forgettable 2021-22 campaign.
Extended injury absences by James and Anthony Davis combined with underwhelming play from Russell Westbrook, the prized acquisition of last offseason's roster reconstruction, led the Lakers to miss the playoffs with a 33-49 record.
Another flurry of moves are probably on the horizon over the next few months, but regardless of whether the changes are major or minor, the expectation will be the same: a return to title contention for the 2020 NBA champions.
Ham, who won an NBA title as a player with the Detroit Pistons in 2004 and another as a member of the Bucks' staff in 2021, is likely aware of that never-ending pressure given his prior time with the storied franchise.
He's the 28th head coach in Lakers history and the team will hold an introductory press conference Monday.