The Los Angeles Lakers were arguably the most disappointing team in the NBA this season, finishing the year outside of the Western Conference playoff picture with a 33-49 record.
There were some clear chemistry problems throughout the year implementing point guard Russell Westbrook into the team’s offensive system, as well as injuries that plagued stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James throughout the year.
The disappointing year led to head coach Frank Vogel being relieved of his duties, and the team now has a head coaching vacancy heading into the 2022-23 NBA season.
Reports emerged Friday that the team has narrowed down their search, and that there are now three clear finalists for the position.
Finalists for the job include Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant coach and former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, and former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts.
Sources: Finalists for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job: Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. Next stage of interviews are expected to take place in-person in Los Angeles.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 20, 2022
Stadium/The Athletic NBA insider Shams Charania added that the next stage of interviews are set to take place in-person in Los Angeles.
It will certainly take the correct candidate to take the Lakers head coaching position for a number of reasons. Any coach that comes in with James is always liable to receive extreme amounts of criticism.
The Lakers are also extremely constrained when it comes to their cap-space, with Westbrook likely taking a player option that will be over $47 million next season.
There is very little wiggle room to change up the core of the team, unless they decided to trade one of their stars this offseason.
It is also Los Angeles, where it is expected that there will be immediate success given the organization’s history of winning.
Whoever the Lakers decide to bring on as their head coach will definitely need to be aware of all of these expectations heading into next season.
[Shams Charania on Twitter; photo from Jayne Kamin/Oncea via USA Today Sports]