The Lakers are casting a very wide net in the initial phase of their coaching search, which has led to countless rumors floating both around the NBA and Lakers’ nation. For example, Mark Jackson’s name has come up because LeBron James reportedly likes him, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Lakers at least had an initial conversation. Frank Vogel’s lead assistant David Fizdale‘s name should be near the top of any list because of his relationship with LeBron James going back to Miami.
Two names came up in reporting on Friday: Milwaukee Bucks lead assistant Darvin Ham, and the still employed but watched closely Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz.
The Snyder rumors are not new but have intensified with the Jazz having been eliminated from the playoffs by the Mavericks in the first round. There are good reasons for the Lakers to be interested in Snyder, who helped develop players like Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell (neither were top-10 draft picks) and led the Jazz to the best record in the NBA last season. Marc Stein updated at Substack that the Lakers certainly are interested.
The Lakers’ interest in Snyder as a successor to Frank Vogel is serious, sources say.
Is Snyder seriously interested in the Lakers? Stein updates earlier reports that the attraction may not be mutual. First, there is no certainty Snyder will be available, he still has one guaranteed year and one coach option year on his current contract, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. Snyder refused to extend his contract beyond those two years, raising eyebrows around the league. Sources close to the Jazz have told NBC Sports Snyder has a good relationship with Utah owner Ryan Smith.
The Lakers would have to radically change how things were handled with the deposed Frank Vogel to even get Snyder’s attention. First, no lowball contract this time — Snyder will get five fully-guaranteed years at a top-end coach’s salary from any team interested in him. The Lakers forced assistant coaches on Vogel (starting with Jason Kidd), Snyder will have total autonomy over his staff and his coaching decisions — no Kurt Rambis sitting in on coaching meetings and making suggestions. Finally, Snyder had a good relationship with general manager Justin Zanik in Utah (at least before Danny Ainge was brought in above Zanik) and his input on personnel and roster moves was taken into consideration. That would have to happen again.
Even with all that, Snyder may not want to come to Los Angeles.
Ham has been a top assistant at the front of the “he should get a chance” coaching line for a while. Ham was one of the finalists for the Wizards job last year and has interviewed for multiple NBA jobs. His name was tied to the Lakers via Shams Charania of The Athletic, and subsequent reports say the Lakers were granted permission for an interview.
Sources: The Lakers have requested permission to interview Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham for their head coach opening. Ham served as a Lakers assistant from 2011-13. The team is starting the next stage of the coaching search process.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 29, 2022
Ham has a ring as a former NBA player — with the 2004 Pistons — and as an assistant coach with the Bucks last season. He has the reputation as a man who knows how to get a message through to a player without damaging his ego, a critical skill in today’s NBA, and has a great work ethic. Some team should give him a shot.
Whether that’s the Lakers, who reportedly would prefer an experienced head coach, remains to be seen.
Expect the Lakers’ coaching search to be finalized before the draft (when the Lakers may make trades to try and reshape their roster around LeBron and Anthony Davis).