The Lakers fire coach Darvin Hamm after two seasons

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers fired coach Darvin Hamm on Friday after two seasons. The Lakers will now open a job search in hopes of finding the right person to maximize the numbers in what will be the final chapter of LeBron James' career while getting the team back into championship contention.

Hamm, who had two years remaining on his contract, went 90-74 (.549) during the regular season and 9-12 (.429) in the postseason — which doesn't include his two tournament victories — since then being set to replace Frank Vogel in 2022. He also led the Lakers to their season-opening championship title in Las Vegas in December.

The decision came just days after the Lakers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets for the second season in a row, this time in five games in the first round after being swept by Denver in the conference finals a year ago.

“We greatly appreciate Darvin Hamm’s efforts on behalf of the Lakers and recognize the many accomplishments achieved over the past two seasons including last year’s impressive run to the Western Conference Finals,” said Rob Pelinka, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager. a permit. “We all want to thank Darvin for this dedication and positivity. Although this decision is difficult to make, it is the best course of action after a full review of the season. The organization will remain steadfast in its commitment to delivering championship-caliber basketball to Lakers fans around the world.”

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Although James (71 games) and Anthony Davis (76) have played the most combined games since becoming teammates in Los Angeles in 2018, the Lakers have only earned the No. 7 seed in a crowded Western Conference field, starting a showdown with No. No. 2. – Seed nuggets.

The Lakers failed to protect double-digit leads in all four of their losses in the series, including a 20-point second-half lead in Game 2.

“It's been a hell of a couple of years… I'll tell you that,” Hamm said Monday after Los Angeles' elimination. “It's been hell for two years sitting in that chair. A lot of good things have been accomplished, but in the end, you want to win that ultimate prize.”

Hamm inherits a Lakers team that is coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history, when they went 33-49 in 2021-22 and failed to qualify for the postseason after trading away several players who played a vital role in Los Angeles' 2020 win. By Russell Westbrook .

Los Angeles started 2-10 in Hamm's first season, and the roster was completely overhauled in a series of moves leading up to the trade deadline. The team parted ways with Westbrook and retooled with D'Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Rui Hachimura to complement remaining players James, Davis, and Austin Reeves.

This team beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in tournament to earn the No. 7 seed and went on to beat the No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies and the No. 6 seed Golden State Warriors before falling to the top-seeded Nuggets. Denver went on to win its first championship in franchise history.

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This season, the Lakers again got off to a disappointing start by going 3-5, then stumbled through 4-11 after winning the championship during the season, dropping them to 13th in the West in mid-January. Los Angeles rallied to finish the season 23-10 — the fifth-best record in the league from February 1 through mid-April — and beat the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament to earn the No. 7 seed once again.

Last year, the Nuggets swept the Lakers in the playoffs, outscoring them by 24 points in their four victories. This time, it took Denver five games, and the combined margin of victory was 22 points in the four victories.

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