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NBA

Juwan Howard rejects Lakers’ approach regarding head coaching job

Though they do have a short list of candidates, it’s understood the franchise was interested in Howard, but apparently the feeling wasn’t mutual.

Paul Rudder
Update:
Juwan Howard rejects Lakers’ approach regarding head coaching job
Mary LangenfeldUSA TODAY Sports

It looks like the Lakers can’t even catch a break in the off season as the latest candidate for their vacant coaching job actually rejected their approach

Juwan Howards says no to the Los Angeles Lakers

According to reports, the Los Angeles Lakers’ hunt for a head coach is set to continue after Michigan men’s basketball coach and former NBA star Juwan Howard resisted an “overture” from the franchise. While it is understood that no formal offer was made to Howard, it’s clear that the Lakers were interested and had that been reciprocated on Howard’s end one has to imagine their would have been some kind of ‘sit down’ with a mind to negotiating.

Interestingly, though he’s currently coaching in the NCAA Howard actually has experience in the NBA, having served as an assistant coach with the Miami Heat between 2013 and 2019. With that said, it would appear that for the moment Howard is happy to stay in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines head coach, which he has been since 2019. Of course the fact that his his two sons - Jace and Jett - are also on Michigan’s roster might have something to do with that as well. With Michigan’s reigns in his hands Howard has guided the Wolverines to a 93-61 overall record in his three seasons and was even named the AP’s National Coach of the Year in 2021.

What now for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Now that it’s been established that Howard won’t even be a potential candidate, the Lakers are back to square one. Though it must be said that reports have suggested they have a short list of three: Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. Its been said that so far Ham is the coach who leads the race, having made quite an impression on LA’s front office. While there is no official word, the franchise will likely commence with personal interviews in the coming weeks.

A look at the Laker’s candidates

Where Ham has is concerned, he actually followed the Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer from the Atlanta Hawks back in 2018 and was an integral part of the development of Milwaukee’s two time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, which in turn lead to a championship. Indeed, it should come as no surprise that he has been in the mix for a number of head coaching jobs in the past, though he is yet to land one. Could this be that very moment and is it the right choice? Then we have Stotts who has in effect has been out of work since leaving the Portland Trail Blazers after the 2020-21 season. In Portland he actually spearheaded a Blazers trip to the Western Conference finals during a nine year stretch that saw him miss the playoffs just once. Last but not least is Atkinson who coached the Nets from 2016 to 2020. Since that time he’s been an assistant coach with both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Warriors. The question now remains as to who will the Lakers select, but perhaps the better query is whether or not a franchise which is in need of more than just a coach, is the right choice for any of them.

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