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#pounditWednesday, June 29, 2022

Surprising coach in the lead to land Lakers job?

Rob Pelinka at a press conference

Sep 27, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka answers a question during the Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers appear to be getting closer to naming a new head coach, and a surprising name might be emerging as the leading candidate.

Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham has made the strongest impression on the Lakers during the search thus far, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Lakers have prioritized a strong personality who can gain the respect of the locker room and manage its various possibilities. Ham is known around the NBA for these traits, and is considered a strong, no-nonsense leader who connects with players.

Lakers officials are driving the hiring process, which means LeBron James is not significantly involved in the search. Also sidelined are longtime Lakers figures without an official role such as former coach Phil Jackson.

Ham certainly did not look like the favorite, even among the previously reported list of finalists. He has never been a head coach before, so throwing him into the job with the Lakers could be seen as a lot. Ham has made it this far, though, which suggests the Lakers do not share those concerns.

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