Winning the NBA Cup did not give the Los Angeles Lakers the boost that many fans thought it would. Instead, it serves as the turning point for a season that has gone from very promising to very disappointing in a short amount of time.
The Lakers are 3-9 since winning the NBA In-Season Tournament and have fallen below .500 as a result. While there is still a lot of basketball left to play, the Lakers are falling behind quickly in the Western Conference and don't even look to be in the same ballpark as the other contending teams in the league.
This has rightfully shined the spotlight directly on Darvin Ham, who has made plenty of questionable lineup decisions to go with his nonsensical post-game comments. The situation is getting very serious very quickly for Ham as Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported that there is a growing disconnect between Ham and his locker room.
Ham's seat is warming up and if the season doesn't turn itself around then the team may have no other choice than to part ways with the second-year head coach. While this would be celebrated by many fans, it would also open the door for a disastrous situation that might be even worse than just keeping Ham.
Lakers firing Darvin Ham could lead to Doc Rivers being hired
This was the nightmare scenario that the team avoided back in 2022 when Ham was hired. It was clear to everyone involved that the Lakers were interested in hiring Doc if he would have been let go by the Philadelphia 76ers but he inexplicably wasn't. Rivers got another year and was fired after the 2022-23 season.
Rivers has since turned to broadcasting with ESPN. While that is a nice gig, he hasn't really hidden his desire to return to coaching, particularly for the Lakers. Rivers couldn't have made it any more obvious that he wanted the job during Wednesday's broadcast of the Lakers-Heat matchup.
Yes, Rivers is a title-winning coach who has plenty of experience in the NBA. After seeing a first-time head coach flail in this capacity, getting a coach with more experience than anyone else available seems like the right move.
But it wouldn't fix anything for the Lakers. As bad as Ham's rotations are, Rivers' rotations and how he utilizes players is even worse. Rivers was outright holding the Philadelphia 76ers back at the end of his tenure and that has become increasingly obvious with Nick Nurse now coaching the team.
The last thing Lakers fans should want is for the team to fire Ham only to hitch the wagon to Rivers for multiple seasons. It wouldn't make this year's team any better and it would actively harm the future of the franchise.
If the Lakers do fire Ham then they have to avoid the most obvious mistake possible and look a different direction than Doc Rivers.