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Los Angeles Lakers Part Ways with Coach Darvin Ham After Two Seasons

LOS ANGELES — In a significant shakeup, the Los Angeles Lakers have decided to part ways with head coach Darvin Ham following a two-season tenure. The franchise announced the decision shortly after their playoff exit, signaling the start of a new search for leadership as they aim to leverage the remaining years of LeBron James’ illustrious career towards championship success.

Under Ham’s guidance, the Lakers posted a regular season record of 90-74 and a less stellar 9-12 postseason record, not including two victories in play-in tournaments. Ham took over the coaching reins from Frank Vogel in 2022 and led the team to win the inaugural in-season tournament held in Las Vegas this past December.

The team’s dismissal of Ham comes hot on the heels of their elimination by the Denver Nuggets for the second consecutive year, this time bowing out in five games in the first round of the playoffs.

Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager, expressed gratitude for Ham’s dedication: “Darvin Ham has demonstrated immense dedication and brought significant achievements, including last year’s commendable journey to the Western Conference finals. While this was a tough decision, it aligns with our strategic review and our ongoing commitment to achieving excellence.”

Following the departure of Ham, the Lakers also released their entire coaching staff, including assistant coach Phil Handy, who had previously worked under both Ham and Vogel.

Despite the efforts of star players LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who played a combined total of 147 games this season, the Lakers only managed to secure the No. 7 seed in a highly competitive Western Conference. The team repeatedly failed to maintain leads in their playoff series against the second-seeded Nuggets.

Reflecting on his tenure, Ham said, “These two years have been intense and filled with both achievements and challenges. Though we aimed for the championship, I am proud of the progress and the moments we’ve had.”

The Lakers have seen significant roster changes under Ham, including trading several key players from their 2020 championship team for Russell Westbrook, who was later moved in favor of players like D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Rui Hachimura. This revamped lineup managed to create playoff upsets before ultimately falling to the Nuggets, who captured their first NBA title.

As the Lakers regroup for another playoff run next season, they face the task of building a team capable of going all the way, reflecting on their strategies and choices in a continuously evolving NBA landscape.

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