Lakers rumours: Michigan’s Juwan Howard turns down LA interest as coach search continues, report says

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A name may be removed from the Los Angeles Lakers coach hiring process. Michigan men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard resisted an “overture” by the Los Angeles Lakers over her coaching job, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers never made a formal offer to Howard per Wojnarowski, but the interest was there on their side. Had Howard also been interested, the two sides would likely have moved forward in talks.

Howard has NBA experience, having been an assistant with the Miami Heat from 2013-2019. He has been the head coach of the Wolverines since 2019 and is currently content to remain in Ann Arbor, particularly with his two sons – Jace and Jett – on Michigan’s list. Howard has a 93-61 aggregate record in three seasons at Michigan and was named the AP’s National Coach of the Year for 2021.

With Howard out of the picture, the Lakers reportedly have narrowed the search to three candidates — Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. Of those three candidates, Ham has reportedly made the strongest impression on the LA front office to date. The team is expected to conduct face-to-face interviews in the near future.

Ham has been with the Bucks since 2018, succeeding Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks. During that time, Ham has been a fixture on the Budenholzer coaching staff, helping guide the Bucks to a championship last season and helping develop two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He has lined up for several head coaching jobs in the past but has yet to land one.

Stotts has not coached since splitting from the Portland Trail Blazers after the 2020-21 season. During his time there, he guided them to the Western Conference Finals and missed the playoffs only once during his nine-year tenure. Atkinson was Brooklyn’s head coach from 2016 to 2020. He has since served as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Warriors.

There was some speculation that the Lakers could trade for Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers and that the Sixers would be open to it. However, according to a league source, such speculation is untrue as the Sixers want Rivers to remain their coach. Lakers rumours: Michigan’s Juwan Howard turns down LA interest as coach search continues, report says

Justin Scacco

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