Darvin Ham's likely replacement is already angling to take his Lakers job

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

Unless the Los Angeles Lakers manage to win the NBA Championship this season there is a decent chance that the team will consider a head coaching change. Darvin Ham has actively held the Lakers back this season with his awful rotations and lack of true coaching.

It has gotten so bad that LeBron James has publicly talked about overruling Ham's coaching decisions late in games. It is never good when your star player publicly admits that he is doing a better coaching job than you are.

Just because the Lakers might move on from Ham does not mean that the team will hire a home-run head coach to replace him. After all, the likely favorite to replace Ham is not an exciting option and is already paving the way to coach the Lakers next season.

In an interview with Brendan Quinn of The Athletic, former Michigan head coach Juwan Howard confirmed that he will return to coaching, with the article specifically mentioning him likely coaching in the NBA.

"He will, in time, return to coaching, most likely in the NBA. 'This is not the end, and it will not be the end-all, be-all of my coaching career,' he says."

Juwan Howard appears to be angling to replace Darvin Ham as Lakers head coach

Howard did not specifically mention the Lakers but he did not have to for Lakers fans to see through this declaration. The fact that making the leap to the NBA was specifically mentioned is enough evidence to show that he is trying to work his way onto the Lakers' staff.

After all, president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka is a Michigan guy and he has shown an affinity for the program in the past. Oftentimes in sports it is about who you know, not what you know, and Howard being a beloved member of the Michigan fraternity definitely increases his value in Pelinka's eyes.

This is not even speculation, it is pure fact. Howard was the Lakers' preferred favorite back in 2022 before the team hired Ham. Howard wanted to stay at Michigan, and the Lakers hired the then-respected assistant from Mike Budenholzer's staff.

Now there is no job for Howard to fall back on and the Lakers are likely going to be looking for a head coach. The stars are aligning for Howard to be the next coach of the Lakers and him talking about jumping to the NBA only strengthens that reality.

Whether or not he would be a good coach would be a different story. He is a former player, which is valuable when you have LeBron James on the team, but he did not accomplish much at Michigan. After failing to turn that program around, it is hard to see how he would be a magic fix at the NBA level.

But with no other home-run candidates jumping off the page, the Lakers may just go with the most comfortable option.

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