Could there be a coaching change in Los Angeles?
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jovan Buha reported Thursday that there is a “deep rift” between Lakers players and head coach Darwin Ham, citing six sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
According to the report, the disconnect is caused by “excessive rotation and recent starting lineup adjustments on Hamm’s part, causing rhythm fluctuations for several players on the roster”.
The report cited one specific lineup change, when Hamm started LeBron James, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Jared Vanderbilt and Anthony Davis against the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 23, which was “head-scratched by multiple parties internally.” Was considered “Wala”. However, Los Angeles won that game on the back of James’ 40-point performance.
While the Lakers had an unblemished in-season tournament record en route to capturing the inaugural NBA Cup, it has otherwise been a disappointing campaign. Los Angeles is just 11-18 in non-IST games and 17-18 overall, 10th in the Western Conference standings. And these struggles come despite James and Davis losing just five games combined.
The Lakers have lost nine of 12 games since their IST title win, most recently suffering their third consecutive loss to the Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat at home on Wednesday. In the game, Los Angeles used its 10th different starting lineup this season.
After a 110–96 loss to Miami, James left Crypto.com Arena without speaking to the media, while Austin Reaves described the team’s mood as “*****”.
“We’re losing. Whenever you lose, the atmosphere’s got to be off, you know? If I had gone in [the locker room] And I would be worried if the excitement didn’t die down after the tough stretch we had. “That’s exactly what it is,” Reeves told reporters, via ESPN. “You know, I don’t expect us to be happy with the way we played. So, until we figure that out, you know, the atmosphere’s got to be off. We’ve got to win the game.”
Hamm is in his second year as head coach of the Lakers. Last season, Los Angeles bounced back from a 2-10 start to finish 43-39 and make the conference finals.
But the Lakers currently appear to be in danger of reaching the conference finals again.
“It’s a little bit of everything right now,” Hamm said after Wednesday’s loss, via ESPN. “We’re not performing. That team played harder than us tonight, played better than us tonight, played more physical than us tonight. We came up short tonight, so it’s everything right now.
“If we keep sitting on this train, it will not be good for us.”