Lakers Players Reportedly Wanted Darvin Ham To Be Fired And Replaced By Phil Handy As Head Coach

The Lakers roster allegedly wanted Darvin Ham to be fired this season with Phil Handy replacing him, but Jeanie Buss didn’t agree.

A new report claims that the Los Angeles Lakers roster wanted a coaching change this season, with Darvin Ham being fired and replaced by assistant coach Phil Handy, but Lakers governor Jeanie Buss continued to back Ham.

“A source told Hoops Wire that Lakers players wanted assistant coach Phil Handy to replace Ham earlier in the season. However, Los Angeles owner Jeanie Buss is a fan of Ham and she has never thought about firing him as coach, the source said.”

The report came from Ashish Mathur of, with the story also being endorsed by reputed NBA writer Sam Amico. This would also track with many of the reports that had come out of the Lakers organization in January regarding the locker room being unhappy with Darvin Ham, with players like D’Angelo Russell among the most upset.

Ham did coach the team into turning their season around, going 21-10 since February. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough to elevate the Lakers into the top six, with the franchise looking likely to end up in the 9-10 Play-In game, requiring to win two games just to earn the No. 8 seed and likely face the Nuggets in round one.

It’s unclear if Ham will lose his job this season if the Lakers fail to make the playoffs. It seems like Ham won’t have a leg to stand on if the team can’t make the playoffs, especially with consistent reports suggesting he’s lost the locker room.

Darvin Ham Has Had The Support Of Jeanie Buss For Months

The fact that the Lakers stuck it out with Ham after the Lakers’ season went into tailspin in December, falling from the No. 5 seed to No. 10 in that stretch, was remarkable. The faith did pay off while Ham made the correct roster calls and the team instantly improved, but it hasn’t been enough to secure his job in the eyes of players and fans.

Unfortunately for anyone who wants Ham gone, Sam Amick of The Athletic was the first to reveal that Ham has ultimate backing from Jeanie Buss, a fact reiterated in the latest report.

“It’s the informed opinion of this particular NBA scribe that he would not have been fired even if they had lost (vs. Clippers) Sunday. And that was before discussing the situation with Ham long after the game was over. But as he shared in a conversation with The Athletic, there’s a significant factor in play here that should not be forgotten: While Ham has issues to resolve both in his locker room and elsewhere within Laker Land, he has the continued support of owner Jeanie Buss.”

Jeanie Buss is likely regrettign the many short-term decisions the franchise has made since 2018, which explain why she wants to keep continuity with a coach like Ham. Unfortunately, players, fans, and any educated viewer of the game can see that the Lakers are not responding to their coach, which the coach is still not the best at the in-game execution the team needs. Players have publicly defied Ham’s gameplan and brought home wins for the franchise this season as well.

LeBron James as a coach on the floor can’t do everything if the entire roster is unhappy with rotations or lineups. Given how well-liked Handy is and his long-standing experience of working with LeBron, it seems that would be the obvious next move if Ham can’t hold onto his job after this season.

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