Darvin Ham's 'Fail and Play' Approach with Taurean Prince Could Lead to Firing Report

Lakers face tough decisions after playoff elimination.

by Nouman Rasool
Darvin Ham's 'Fail and Play' Approach with Taurean Prince Could Lead to Firing Report
© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has found himself at the center of scrutiny following the team’s disappointing first-round playoff exit to the Denver Nuggets in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. After a cryptic comment reflecting on his two-year tenure in Los Angeles, speculation about his future with the storied franchise is intensifying.

The Athletic's Lakers beat reporters Jovan Buha and Sam Amick, along with NBA insider Shams Charania, recently analyzed the fallout from the Lakers’ playoff departure. A key issue they noted was Ham’s insistence on sticking with certain role players, despite noticeable slumps in their performance.

Ham, who signed a four-year contract worth approximately $5 million annually in 2022, is rumored to be on shaky ground. Sources within the organization expressed frustration that players like Taurean Prince and Cam Reddish, the latter a 24-year-old on a minimum deal, were allowed to play through their errors during the regular season—a courtesy not extended to teammates Austin Reaves, D'Angelo Russell, and Rui Hachimura.

Coaching Strategy Critiqued

The coaching strategy also raised eyebrows concerning the distribution of minutes between newly acquired Spencer Dinwiddie and Gabe Vincent. This decision disrupted Dinwiddie’s rhythm, who had been shooting 39.7 percent from three-point range and ranking high in team plus-minus stats since his arrival.

The split in playtime led to questions about why the coaching staff didn’t commit fully to one over the other during the crucial final weeks of the season and into the playoffs. Moreover, the Lakers’ bench, often celebrated for its versatility and impact at both ends of the court, suffered from persistent health issues.

These injuries forced Ham to make do with the available roster, often leading to contentious decisions like prioritizing Prince and Reddish over Russell, Reaves, and Hachimura, who collectively earn $45 million. Despite the internal criticism and fan discontent, there are substantial reasons why Ham might retain his position.

The current Lakers roster, even with a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis, was not considered championship-caliber. Furthermore, the front office’s inability to secure significant mid-season enhancements due to financial constraints left Ham with limited options.

Lakers insider Anthony Irwin suggests that the front office may still opt to keep Ham while reshaping the roster around significant new bench acquisitions. As the Lakers navigate this offseason, the decisions made could redefine not just the future of Darvin Ham, but the trajectory of the franchise itself.