Lakers fire head coach Darvin Ham after just 2 seasons, latest playoff series loss to Nuggets

The Lakers are now looking for a fourth head coach to lead LeBron James as he enters what will be his seventh season with the franchise

Darvin Ham’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers is over.

The Lakers fired their head coach on Friday, the team announced. The move came days after the Lakers were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets. Ham spent just two seasons with James and the Lakers. The rest of the coaching staff was also dismissed, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

Ham took over for Frank Vogel after the 2021-22 season, and he found success almost immediately. The Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals last season, though the Nuggets swept them in that round before winning their first NBA title.

The Lakers got off to a great start this season. They went a perfect 7-0 and won the inaugural in-season tournament in Las Vegas in December. James was named the tournament’s MVP too, after he averaged 26.4 points and shot nearly 57% from the field in those seven games. That led to a banner being raised at Arena.

But after the Lakers’ title, things went downhill fast. The Lakers lost 12 of their next 17 games and quickly tumbled down the Western Conference standings.

Despite a trip to the Western Conference finals in his first season with the team, the Lakers are now ready to look for a replacement for Darvin Ham.
Despite a trip to the Western Conference finals in his first season with the team, the Lakers are now ready to look for a replacement for Darvin Ham. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Lakers finished the season with a 47-35 record, and made it into the play-in tournament after winning 11 of their last 14 regular season games. The Lakers then snuck past the New Orleans Pelicans to earn a spot in the playoffs, which marked their fourth postseason trip in the last five seasons. The Nuggets, however, beat them 4-1 in the first series.

"It's been a hell of a two years sitting in this seat, I'll tell you that," Ham said after their loss to the Nuggets on Monday, via ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "It's been a hell of a two years."

Just like earlier in the year after their post-in-season-tournament stumble, James didn’t sound very happy following their season-ending loss on Monday night.

James, 39, averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game this season. He played in 71 games, which marked his highest output since the 2017-18 campaign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

So after their early playoff exit, the Lakers decided it was time to move on. Ham was at the helm for two seasons and finished with a 90-74 overall record leading the Lakers, which marked his first head coaching job in the league. He went just 1-8 against the Nuggets in the playoffs.

Whenever the Lakers find a replacement for Ham, they will be James’ fourth head coach during his seven seasons with the organization — assuming he returns next fall. Vogel lasted the longest working with James, though he was fired after his third season.