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In The Least Surprising News Of All Time The Lakers (aka LeBron) Have Fired Darvin Ham After Just 2 Seasons

Wally Skalij. Getty Images.

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I dare you to find someone who pays attention to the NBA that is even remotely surprised by this news. The second the clock hit 0.0 on the Lakers/Nuggets series, we all knew this was the next shoe to drop before the Lakers enter a pretty massive offseason. Whether it was fair or not, this is how things work in the NBA, especially for a team operated by LeBron James. If he's done with you that's a death sentence, and something tells me LeBron reached the point where he had enough

Here's the thing. Was Darvin Ham perfect? God no. Between his rotations, his feel for the game, how the Lakers played, there's plenty of things he could improve on. Does that mean you should lose your job a year after making a WCF run? I don't really think so, but admittedly I look at everything involving the Lakers with a heavy anti-LA bias. Part of why I wish Ham was still the Lakers coach is it prevents them from possibly getting better, but that's mostly a me problem.

Now that this is a done deal, it's important to remember what Charles Barkley just said when it comes to all these coaching hot seats

and in the case of the Lakers, he's pretty spot on.

You see, the Lakers issues are not only from 2023-24 or even since Darvin Ham got the job. In reality, their current situation dates back all the way to right after they won the 2020 Bubble title. Just look at the decisions that front office has made since 2019-2020. From mishandling the assets of KCP, Kuzma, and Caruso, to trading for investing in the wrong point guards ranging from DLo to Pat Bev to Schroder, the problems of team construction are every bit as responsible for the current Lakers position as Darvin Ham.

Everyone who has watched the Lakers play for 2 seconds knows they can't shoot, and yet offseason after offseason they never addressed it. That's Ham's fault? Where's LeBron? Where's Rob Pelinka? Where's Jeanie Buss? After a competitive series against the Nuggets last year (where it was once again exposed they couldn't shoot), what did they do this past summer?

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They overpaid for Gabe Vincent, brought in Taurean Prince, extended Rui, and gave Cam Reddish a multi year deal. Then, at the deadline, what was their big move? Signing Spencer Dinwiddie.

So again, is anyone really surprised that the same old issues that existed even before Darvin Ham got there still were a problem? A coach can only do so much with the roster he is given. Strategy and system can only do so much, eventually you either have the right collection of talent or you don't. 

How you manage your assets and how you build your team is 10x more important than who the coach is. Just look around the league. The Bucks fired their coach and brought in Doc, and what did that fix? Nothing, because the talent is the talent. The Sixers fired their coach and brought in Nick Nurse, and what did that change? They just lost in the first round. There are situations where a new coach helps, like say with Ime Udoka and the Rockets, but you know what they also did? They brought in veteran and NBA proven talent in Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks. The Celtics changed their coach and didn't miss a beat, why? Because Brad Stevens is a fucking beast and built the best roster in basketball. The truth is, you need both. Coaching AND talent to win at a high level and contend for titles.

So guess what? It doesn't really matter who the Lakers hire next. It could be JJ Redick, Kenny Atkinson, Ty Lue, Mike Budenholzer etc. Until the Lakers fix their talent and roster problem, nothing is going to change. The bad news is, that's not exactly going to be easy

What I would like to know is if LeBron gave them some sort of ultimatum, either him or Ham. Make no mistake, the Lakers are not firing the coach without LeBron's blessing given his contract situation. The same way the Suns aren't going to fire Frank Vogel without his blessing and the Bucks didn't fire Adrian Griffin without Giannis' blessing. That's how things work in the NBA. If LeBron wanted Ham to stay and the Lakers fired him and that pisses LeBron off, he can just turn down his option and leave the team for nothing. 

At what point do the Lakers as a franchise say enough is enough? Or, are they so desperate for LeBron to stay that they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep him happy, whether that's draft his son or fire their coach? At what point does Rob Pelinka be held accountable as the one who is building this roster? If this next coach doesn't work, then what? Are we about to see the Lakers enter another offseason and make a panic trade to appease LeBron, only for Pelinka to still not fill the glaring holes on the roster and we're right back here again next season?

So while there's a part of me that enjoys this Lakers destruction, it's still pretty bullshit. You ask a coach to make chicken salad out of chicken shit, he does that and gets the team to the WCF, then the team doesn't get better and you ask him to do it again, and then can his ass when he loses another close series to the defending champs. Now Ham played a role in that 5 game series sure, but certainly not as much as the talent issue which he does not control.

If I had to guess who gets the nod moving forward, I don't think we have to overthink it. LeBron is already putting out clips of him going over plays and how he likes things run with his next coach

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