Will the Lakers fire Darvin Ham? LA’s head coach reportedly losing locker room over lineups, rotations

Trouble is brewing in Los Angeles.

Since winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament title, the Lakers have dropped nine of their last 12 games and sit at 17-18 as the 2023-24 season nears its midway point. As a result, head coach Darvin Ham’s seat appears to be getting quite warm.

A recent report from Jovan Buha and Shams Charania of The Athletic alleges that “there’s currently a deepening disconnect between Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room,” citing six sources familiar with the situation.

Six sources supporting a similar notion could spell doom for Ham’s future on the sideline in LA. Here are what the latest rumors may mean for the Lakers moving forward.

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Will the Lakers fire Darvin Ham?

The report from Buha and Charania came less than 12 hours after LA suffered a 14-point home loss to a Jimmy Butler-less Miami team. The confounding defeat was the worst possible way for the Lakers to open up a stretch in which they would play nine of their next 10 games in Los Angeles.

According to the sources who spoke under the condition of anonymity, the disconnect in the Lakers’ locker room stems from Ham’s extreme adjustments to Los Angeles’ rotation and starting lineup.

This season, Ham has made a few notable lineup moves. Among them is the choice to move Austin Reaves to the bench nine games into the season in favor of Cam Reddish and, more recently, the decision to move D’Angelo Russell to the bench to slide LeBron James into a point guard role.

With the Lakers in New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Dec. 31, Ham opted for a starting unit of James, Anthony Davis, Rui Hachimura, Taurean Prince and Jarred Vanderbilt, a choice that raised eyebrows as all five players are forwards.

The result was a 20-point loss at the hands of the same team that LA embarrassed in the Semifinals of the In-Season Tournament.

Following the loss in New Orleans, James offered a not-so-subtle endorsement of Reaves returning to the starting lineup, telling reporters, “Austin’s great. I like Austin no matter where he is. Obviously, it’s always great to be on the floor with him.

“No matter if he’s coming off the bench or if he’s starting. I just love being on the floor with him. He makes plays.”

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As trade rumors swirled and discontent with the team’s record grew, Ham offered an optimistic outlook ahead of LA’s date with Miami on Jan. 3, saying, “We were 14-20 at this time last year. So, we’ve seen it. It’s not as extreme, it’s definitely uncomfortable.

“Being 17-17, having a couple of days after the New Year to get focused on ourselves … Basically came to the conclusion that there’s more than enough in the room.”

With Hachimura and Russell sidelined, Ham opted for a starting lineup of James, Reaves, Reddish, Prince and Davis against the Heat but the result was more of the same.

James scored a season-low 12 points, Reddish and Prince were held scoreless and LA’s starting unit was outscored by 12 points in a 14-point loss. For the ninth time in 12 games, it would appear that LA did not have enough in the room.

With frustrations rising, James exited Crypto.com Arena without speaking to reporters. Whether or not James’ frustrations are tied to Ham’s position as the Lakers’ lead man is unknown but the losing certainly has a hand in it.

Darvin Ham contract and salary

In the 2022 offseason, Ham agreed to a four-year deal to become the Lakers head coach. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is estimated that Ham is earning between $3 and $5 million annually.

Darvin Ham coaching record

Darvin Ham is 60-57 in his first 117 games as the Lakers head coach.

After leading the Lakers from the Play-In Tournament to the Western Conference Finals in 2023, Ham is 9-8 in postseason games and 8-8 in the NBA Playoffs.

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