The Los Angeles Lakers making the Western Conference Finals last year was seen as a turning point for the franchise.
All summer long, as a result of the squad’s late-season run, many believed that this group could compete for a championship.
Thus far, those visions haven’t quite materialized. L.A. is 16-15 and sitting at the bottom of the conference’s playoff picture.
Already rumors have started that head coach Darvin Ham is on the hot seat. Two frontrunners have emerged to replace him in recent days should the front office decide to move on.
Not helping matters any is Ham’s recent re-shuffling of the Lakers’ starting lineup. Specifically, his moving of D’Angelo Russell to the bench.
“Yes, there have been some eyebrows raised over the past 72 hours or so when the Lakers made the starting lineup change,” Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported.
“I started hearing about it Friday afternoon in talking with some people. At first, I just didn’t believe it. I was like, ‘There’s no way.’ Maybe they’re putting Vando (Vanderbilt) in because, ever since training camp, Darvin has basically said Vando was gonna win the starting spot over Taurean Prince.
“He was gonna be the fifth starter again. And that was the way LA was planning on going into the season, but he suffers that heel injury. He misses a bunch of time.”
Russell, for what it is worth, is taking the benching about as well as one could given the circumstances.
It will be interesting to see if Ham’s instability within the Lakers’ hierarchy ultimately catches up with him. Currently, the team is one of two frontrunners for Dejounte Murray and one of four favorites to land Zach LaVine.
Olivia Culpo’s Video For 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey Goes Viral: https://t.co/ur6Y3DHUCt
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If either of those deals happen, Ham’s job will likely be safe and the team will probably make some kind of turnaround.
Should neither move come to fruition, though – Ham could find himself on the hot seat before season’s end.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.