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The Los Angeles Lakers have narrowed their coaching search to three final candidates, according to ESPN and The Athletic reports.
Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts have advanced to the final round of interviews for the head job with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson is also a finalist, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
It’s unclear when the Lakers are going to conduct the last round of interviews, or what their timeline is for making a final decision.
Ham has been an assistant in the league for more than a decade. He got his start with the Lakers in 2011, when he worked as an assistant under Mike Brown. He then spent five seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and worked the past four years in Milwaukee.
Stotts most recently spent nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers; he was fired after the 2020-21 season. He went 402-318 there and reached the playoffs in all but one season. He made it to the Western Conference finals once. Stotts also spent two seasons leading the Milwaukee Bucks and another two with the Atlanta Hawks, and has served as an assistant with the Seattle SuperSonics, Bucks, Warriors and Dallas Mavericks.
Atkinson is currently in his first season with Steve Kerr and the Warriors following a one-year stint with the Los Angeles Clippers. His only head coaching experience came with the Brooklyn Nets from 2016-20, and he went 118-190 and failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs before he was fired and replaced by Steve Nash.
Whoever the Lakers end up choosing will replace Frank Vogel, who was fired this spring after the team failed to make the playoffs two years after winning the NBA Finals. Vogel went 127-98 with LeBron James and the Lakers. The team hasn’t had a coach for more than three consecutive seasons since Phil Jackson left in 2011.