University of Michigan coach Juan Howard recently rejected approval for the Los Angeles Lakers owner’s coaching job, and Howard will coach his two sons next season.
Lockers have a systematic search process, but contacting college coaches usually requires a different level of discretion. Sources say the Lakers have a final list of Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darwin Hamm, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stots. The Lakers are expected to conduct face-to-face interviews in the future.
The Lakers never offered Howard a formal opportunity, but it is clear that if he had expressed interest in the job, his candidacy would have moved quickly to that position. Despite having a history of playing with Howard Lakers general manager Rob Bellinga and star LeBron James, he plans to stay on Ann Arbor, where his sons Jace and Jet will be juniors and newcomers next season, respectively.
Howard was interviewed for a job in Los Angeles as a Miami Heat assistant coach in 2019, before accepting a head coaching job in Michigan in 2019. Howard’s success in the college rankings – his resume as a six – year heat assistant and two-time NBA champion – sparked significant interest in him among NBA teams.
Boston Celtics captain Brad Stevens was eager for Howard to start his training session a year ago, but Howard turned it down, sources said. Celtics hired Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Utoka.
Like Howard, Ham is another former player with strong leadership, presence, winning experience and tactical understanding from past work with top leadership coaches. Sources said Ham is also a strong candidate for the post of head coach of Charlotte Hornets. Hamm worked with Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak as the Lakers assistant coach a decade ago.
Both Stots and Atkinson bring with them previous NBA leadership training experience.
Stokes recently coached the Blazers from 2012 to 2021 and reached the playoffs in his last eight consecutive seasons at work – making two trips to the Western Conference semifinals and reaching the conference finals in 2019. He is known for his offensive creativity. And the ability to build relationships with his star players.
Atkinson has built a reputation for player development as an assistant and head coach at the NBA. He spent more than three years as head coach of the Nets, leading to his third season playoff appearance in 2018-19.
Howard was 93-61 for three seasons in Michigan and was selected as national coach in 2021. His tenure with the Wolverines includes the top five poll rankings in three years, including the Big Ten regular-season title and two trips. NCAA competition.