Darvin Ham is entering his second season as an NBA head coach. After over a decade as a bench coach, Ham was named as the successor to Frank Vogel. He led the Lakers all the way to the Western Conference Finals in this first season, despite the team entering the playoffs as a seven-seed. Furthermore, Ham demonstrated his ability to manage veteran players like LeBron and AD.
However, Ham's name had been floating around as a head coach candidate for several years prior to the Lakers grabbing him. In fact, as many as 10 teams considered Ham before passing on him. While speaking to ESPN's Marc J. Spears, Ham had a very clear message for those teams.
Ham Blasts Teams That Didn't Hire Him
“I listed the teams that, according to my unofficial count, had interviewed Ham without offering him their head coaching job. All nine of them. My list featured the Celtics, Hornets, Bulls, Pacers, Timberwolves, Magic, Kings, Wizards, and Clippers," Spears wrote in his newsletter on Substack. Reportedly, Ham then added the Hawks as a tenth team. In reference to this list, Ham told Spears that all of the teams listed had "fucked up royally" in not hiring him. As for the Lakers, Ham is very clearly on a championship or bust path while he still has LeBron. The team has signed Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Heyes, Taurean Prince, and Cam Reddish this offseason. However, 2024 might be their last chance to win with LeBron.
The consensus opinion among pundits is that LeBron will likely push for a trade next offseason to join Bronny on whatever team drafts him. It’s unlikely that the Lakers will have the chance to grab him. If they pick too high in the first round, the Pelicans will likely use their option to take the pick for themselves. However, too low a pick in the first and it’s unlikely that Bronny would still be on the board. Essentially, the Lakers would have to aim for a first-round playoff exit or low lottery finish to acquire Bronny.