Lakers coach Darvin Hamm's position in question amid locker room outage: Sources

LOS ANGELES — Coming off their ninth loss in 12 games, the Los Angeles Lakers have reached a new low in their season, exacerbating concerns about the direction of the season from inside and outside the organization.

There is currently a deep disconnect between Darvin Hamm and the Lakers' locker room, say six sources with direct knowledge of the situation, raising questions about the head coach's standing. People talked to The athlete On the condition of anonymity so that they can speak freely on the matter. These sources described the disintegration between the coach and the team stemming from the heavy rotation and recent starting lineup adjustments from Hamm, which has led to an erratic rhythm for many players across the roster.

The Miami Heat, playing without superstar Jimmy Butler, defeated the Lakers 110-96 at Crypto.com Arena on Wednesday. The loss dropped Los Angeles to 17-18 — the first time their team has dipped below .500 since Nov. 11 — putting them ahead of the Golden State Warriors by just 0.001 percentage points for 10th place in the Western Conference. The Lakers are 3-9 since winning the In-Season Championship in Las Vegas on Dec. 9. They have lost three straight games, and Wednesday night's defeat added to the turmoil.

In the latest attempt to turn around Los Angeles' slide, Ham used his 10th starting lineup of the season and third in three games: Austin Reeves at point guard, Taurean Prince at shooting guard, Cam Reddish at small forward, LeBron James at power forward and Anthony. Davis is in the center. The Lakers were -3 in the 13 minutes the group played together on Wednesday against Miami.

The recent lineup change continued a troubling trend as the Lakers have struggled to identify their best lineups or create continuity this season, no matter how healthy the team is. Concern has only increased in recent weeks.

Hamm's decision to bench D'Angelo Russell and start James, Prince, Reddish, Jared Vanderbilt and Davis in a lineup without a second-choice point guard starting Dec. 23 in Oklahoma City was considered a head-scratcher by multiple parties internally, according to sources who spoke. For this story.

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The Lakers made their case all summer, including bringing back their top five scorers from the Western Conference Finals (James, Davis, Reaves, Russell and Hachimura, in that order). But more than a third of the season later, three of those players — the third, fourth and fifth highest-paid players on the team in Russell, Hachimura and Reeves, respectively — were coming off the bench. Reeves has been coming off the bench for most of the season despite being touted by Hamm as a future All-Star over the summer and ranking third on the team in scoring. Russell's role has diminished since Las Vegas, and Hachimura's playing time has fluctuated on a nightly basis. Basis.

After Wednesday's loss, the locker room opened before Hamm addressed the media, a rarity. Davis spoke first in a calm and depressed manner, refusing to use injuries as an excuse.

“It's a little bit of everything right now,” Davis said. “We're not executing. This team played harder than us tonight, played better than us tonight, more physical than us tonight. We executed our job tonight. So it's a little bit of everything right now. If we continue this trend, it's not going to work for us.” So obviously we have to find out sooner rather than later.

“Guys being out is no excuse. There are no excuses for us. As the coach said (before the game), we have enough in the locker room to win but we just have to go out and compete.
While Davis was there, James, whose locker is located directly next to Davis' locker, got dressed and left the locker room without speaking with reporters.

Hamm finally spoke to the media 30 minutes after the buzzer. He went on to say that the Lakers, despite having James, Davis, Reeves and Russell in all but eight games combined, won't “find any consistency” until they're fully healthy. Hachimura (left calf strain), Russell (tailbone bruise) and Gabe Vincent (left knee surgery) are the three players currently injured.

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“We have to get healthy,” Hamm said. “…And once you get healthy, the guys have to get back into a rhythm and we have to find a cohesive unit, an overall cohesive rotation that we can follow. When you're dealing with different players coming in and out of the lineup repeatedly, it's almost impossible to find a rhythm. That's just being For real. This is not a slight on anyone.

Hamm then went so far as to point out that it's easier to play without a star — like the Heat were without Butler — than to have a team rotate in and out of the lineup, as has been the case with the Lakers for the majority of games. the chapter.

“I think multipliers (rotation players) are more impactful than…if you lose one of your big dogs, you figure out how to try to manage without them,” Hamm said. “…And when you have the key players, the key players who rotate – this guy misses three or four. This guy misses three or four. And they happen one after the other, and that's what makes it difficult. … We have to figure it out. I'm disappointed.” “Hopeful, but I'll be damned if I'm disappointed.”

When asked if he would consider returning to the team's starting lineup of Russell, Reeves, Vanderbilt, James and Davis, Hamm said the team is considering all possibilities.

“I think everything is on the table and makes sense,” Hamm said. “No stone will remain unturned. We are here to explore everything we can to right the ship.

Meanwhile, Reeves, who spoke after Hamm, echoed similar sentiments to Davies, saying the team cannot use volatile lineups as an excuse.

“No matter the lineup, no matter the change, no matter what happens, we have to be better as a team and win games,” Reeves said. “We're more than talented enough to win games. We've got enough depth. We've got enough skill. We've got to figure it out.”

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The perspective of Davis and Reeves compared to Hamm highlights the discrepancy between how the locker room feels about the team's current issues versus how Hamm has cited injuries, schedule and lineup changes amid the team's inconsistency, especially since IST.

Hamm confirmed after the game that the team held a team meeting afterward, which is partly why the locker room took so long to open. By the time Davis spoke to the media, the rest of the players in the Lakers' locker room had left. The atmosphere in the locker room is “sh-y,” Reeves said.

“We’re losing,” Reeves said. “Any time you lose, the atmosphere has to stop, you know? If I go there and the atmosphere doesn't calm down after the difficult period we went through, I will be worried.

He later clarified that the atmosphere was not about players hating each other, which was a notable distinction considering where the locker room was at this time last season.

“When I say the vibe is off, it's not like we don't like each other,” Reeves said. “We're losing. We should be angry. We shouldn't be happy after games with the way we're playing. But I don't want to make it a twist because we don't like each other. Everyone in the locker room is getting along.”

The Lakers have gone through their share of adversity during Hamm's nearly two years as head coach, including a 2-10 start last season that ended with a berth in the Western Conference Finals. So Hamm, in the second year of his four-year coaching contract, has demonstrated his ability to get through to his players. But time is of the essence for James and the 39-year-old Davies, and with a significant lineup shake-up and adjustments over the past few weeks, patience is beginning to wear thin.

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(Photo by Darvin Hamm: Harry Howe/Getty Images)

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