Lakers' most likely Darvin Ham replacement is now available

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Even though the Los Angeles Lakers have received mostly healthy seasons from LeBron James and Anthony Davis the team still finds itself destined to be in the Play-In Tournament. With no injuries or Russell Westbrook to fall back on, the spotlight has been directly on head coach Darvin Ham.

It has become clear through the course of the 2023-24 season that Ham might not be the coach the Lakers were hoping they would hire. The once well-respected assistant coach simply has not developed into a good head coach. LeBron does more actual coaching on this team than Ham does.

With this in mind, Lakers fans are already looking ahead at potential replacement candidates for Ham next season. The Lakers will obviously stick with Ham for the rest of the year but don't be surprised if his second season is his last.

And if that is indeed the case, the Lakers may already have their favorite to replace Ham as the team's head coach. Former NBA all-star Juwan Howard was fired by the Michigan Wolverines on Friday and there are real ties between he and the Lakers.

Juwan Howard could be a favorite to replace Darvin Ham as Lakers head coach

Juwan Howard's tenure at Michigan didn't exactly go as planned and he would not be the most decorated head-coaching option available for the purple and gold. This article is by no means meant to be an endorsement of Howard, nor a plea for the team to hire him.

Instead, it is worth pointing out that Howard has ties to the Lakers organization that could make him a favorite. President of basketball operations Rob Pelinka went to Michigan and has shown some affinity for his alma mater in the past. Howard didn't just coach Michigan, but he played for Michigan as part of the Fab Five.

Plus, the Lakers have literally shown interest in Howard in the past. Before hiring Ham the Lakers made an overture to hire Howard, to which he declined. Now, with Howard out of a job, any potential interest from the Lakers is going to be welcomed by Howard's camp.

Los Angeles has also had an obsession with hiring former players as head coaches. Three of the team's last four head coaches all had playing experience in the NBA with the lone exception being Frank Vogel. LeBron also seems to have a preference to play for former NBA players, as evidenced by his love for Ty Lue.

Could the Lakers do better than Howard? Absolutely. Would he be an improvement over Ham? Probably. But regardless, he has to be considered an early favorite to get the job if the Lakers do indeed look for a head-coaching change.

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