Lakers update: Three coaching candidates to interview again

Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham stands along the sideline pulling down a face mask so he can talk to a player.
Bucks assistant Darvin Ham has moved on to another round of interviews for the Lakers coaching job.
(Matt Kelley / Associated Press)

The Lakers are continuing interviews with three coach candidates from their original pool, one step closer to finding a replacement for Frank Vogel.

Milwaukee assistant Darvin Ham, former Brooklyn coach and current Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson, and former Portland coach Terry Stotts advanced to the next stage of interviews, people with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Times. Ham, Atkinson and Stotts are all considered candidates for Charlotte’s vacancy as well.

All three coaches have different resumes and perceived strengths as the Lakers look for a new leader after a disastrous 2021-22 season.


Ham, a former role player, has never led a team from the big seat on the bench, but he’s built a reputation as one of the top assistants. He’s known for his ability to relate with players and hold them accountable after time with Milwaukee, Atlanta and, for two seasons, the Lakers.

Atkinson is regarded as one of the top developmental coaches, a reputation boosted by a stint with the Nets when the team was seen as an overachiever. He also worked under Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta with Ham. Atkinson spent last season with the Clippers before joining coach Steve Kerr with the Warriors.

Jeanie Buss says she will do whatever it takes to restore the Lakers’ luster. And Phil Jackson and Magic Johnson are again part of the plan.

May 10, 2022

Stotts had a successful stint with the Trail Blazers, making the Western Conference finals once and the playoffs in eight straight seasons. They did, however, lose in the first round five times. Stotts, though, is considered to be a strong offensive tactician with more than a 1,000 games of coaching experience.

At his season-ending news conference following Vogel’s dismissal, general manager Rob Pelinka said the Lakers ideally would have a coach by the NBA draft, which is June 23.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts reacts to an official's call during a playoff series in 2021.
Former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts is still in the running to become the next Lakers head coach.
(Associated Press)