Juwan Howard Was Lakers’ ‘Top Choice’ To Replace Frank Vogel

Los Angeles Lakers, Juwan Howard, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Los Angeles Lakers took their time but have landed on their new head coach. Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham will be replacing Frank Vogel, who was on the Lakers’ sideline for three NBA seasons before being fired.

Ham has his work cut out for him, as this is his first head coaching job. The pressure will be on right from the start as the Lakers are coming off of one of the most disappointing seasons in recent history. They entered the 2021-22 season with championship aspirations but didn’t even qualify for the postseason.

Roster constriction was a big reason for that, as their Big 3 of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook did not pain out. Westbrook struggled to find his niche with the team and provided a scorching review of things at his exit meetings.

There is a chance that Los Angeles decides to run things back, hoping that Ham can make things work better than Vogel was able to. However, had the organization had its way, it doesn’t sound like Ham would have even gotten the job.

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According to Marc Stein on his Substack, the Los Angeles Lakers were actually targeting Michigan men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard to become their next head coach. The job was his had he wanted it, but he chose to remain at his alma mater.

“The most interesting thing I’ve heard while we wait for Ham’s official introduction is that, according to the latest buzz in league coaching circles, Michigan’s Juwan Howard was the Lakers’ preferred candidate among the various coaches to whom they were linked who were under contract elsewhere and thus ultimately unavailable — ahead of Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Utah’s Quin Snyder.

“The Lakers, I’m told, made such strong overtures to Howard that the implication was clear: The job was his if he wanted it. As covered here on May 2, Howard made it clear in turn throughout the Lakers’ 47-day search that — despite his long associations with both James and Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka — he had no interest in leaving behind the college game at Michigan and the opportunity to coach sons Jace and Jett next season.”

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That is some big news, especially because of how things went when Vogel was hired. He wasn’t their first choice in 2019 either, as they were pursuing Tyronne Lue, but Lue was not receptive to some of the contingencies that were in place.

Los Angeles wanted Lou to have specific people on his staff and they were only offering a three-year contract. Vogel was okay with what was laid out, which led to him landing the job and leading the team to an NBA Championship in his first season on the sideline.

Ham will have his work cut out to replicate that first-year success, as this roster isn’t close to contending. But, a team that has James on the roster should not ever be counted out.

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