Portland News

Juwan Howard Declines Lakers, Opens the Door for Either Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, or Kenny Atkinson

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Since Frank Vogel was fired from the Los Angeles Lakers coaching position, the team searched for a suitable replacement, going through various names and credentials. It has been reported that the finalists have been narrowed down to three names – Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, and Kenny Atkinson.

The search has been ongoing since Vogel was relieved of his duties last month with an underwhelming 33-49 season. The Lakers’ season was plagued with challenges as injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis presented a mountain to climb for the prestigious team. After three seasons, a challenging roster constructed also saw limited shooting and athleticism, prompting management to part ways with Vogel.

Since then, the Lakers have been looking for the next man at the helm. Juwan Howard was a top prospect, having played with LeBron James in Miami Heat between the 2010 and 2012 seasons. He also has ties with Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ General Manager, as they played together in college at Michigan, forming the “Fab Five.”

Although it seemed that Howard was destined for the basketball titans, he recently declined the position. Instead, he opted to remain at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, where he will be coaching his sons Jace and Jett next season. While the sources say that the Lakers made no formal offer for next season, Howard previously interviewed for the Los Angeles job as a Miami Heat assistant coach in 2019 before taking the Michigan job.

As a result, reports have said that Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts, and Kenny Atkinson have been tipped as the finalists for the coaching job.

Kenny Atkinson previously coached the Brooklyn Nets between 2016 to 2020. After parting with them, he took an assistant job with the Los Angeles Clippers last season. Atkinson is currently with the Warriors, playing an important role as they head into the Finals.

Terry Stotts is best remembered for his Trail Blazers run, which lasted from 2012 to 2021. During that time, he developed a reputation for offensive creativity and has been known for his ability to build relationships with his star players. Stotts reached the playoffs in his final eight seasons, even making two trips to the Western Conference semifinals and a berth in the 2019 conference finals.

Darvin Ham seems to be the man best positioned for the Lakers job. He had previously been the team’s assistant coach. Ham also served as the Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach under head coach Mike Budenholzer. He has been considered one of the top head-coaching candidates among league assistants and has interviewed for several jobs since 2020.

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