Anthony Davis' Issues with Coach Ham Influenced Lakers' Decision to Fire Him

Lakers Reevaluate Strategy After Playoff Exit, Seek Changes.

by Abdullah Magsi
Anthony Davis' Issues with Coach Ham Influenced Lakers' Decision to Fire Him
© Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers' journey this season ended abruptly in the first round, ousted by the reigning champion Denver Nuggets. This early exit sparked a comprehensive review of team dynamics, with focus squarely on head coaching strategies.

Darvin Ham, who just concluded his tenure with the Lakers following a Game 5 loss, found himself at the center of this scrutiny. Despite leading the team to the Western Conference Finals in the previous season, questions lingered about Ham's decisions, particularly his approach to lineups and rotations.

In an exceptionally competitive Western Conference, these choices seemed to be experimental and arguably cost the team crucial wins early in the season.

AD's Crucial Influence

The pivotal moment in determining Ham’s future came when considering the perspectives of star players Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

Davis, in particular, played a significant role in the decision-making process. His growing influence within the team's hierarchy became evident when reports surfaced that his dissatisfaction was a significant factor in the decision to dismiss Ham.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic on The Rich Eisen Show, “It was pretty evident that AD was not on board anymore with Darvin and they know, like everybody else, that AD has a history of having asked for trades in the past.

That’s how he got to the Lakers from New Orleans. The last thing they wanted was for AD to be frustrated and potentially have those types of thoughts again”. Though Ham maintained a winning record over his two seasons and consistently led the Lakers to the playoffs, the demand for immediate success in today’s NBA often results in a short leash for head coaches.

The consensus that a new coaching voice was necessary became unmistakable, particularly after Davis publicly criticized Ham during the series against the Nuggets. As the Lakers pivot to the future, Davis's role is expected to expand not only on the court but also in the selection of the next head coach, possibly even exceeding the influence of James.

This shift underscores his central role in shaping the future of the franchise. Meanwhile, Ham is not short on prospects. After his stint with one of basketball's most storied franchises, he is considered a likely candidate for other head coaching vacancies, with the Washington Wizards currently open.

Whether he returns to an assistant role or takes on another head coach position, his experiences with the Lakers have undoubtedly prepared him for the next steps in his coaching career.

Anthony Davis Lakers