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Lakers fire Darvin Ham after early play-off exit

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have fired head coach Darvin Ham after their early NBA play-off exit.

LeBron James and Co were beaten 4-1 by the reigning Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference bracket.

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Ham spent two seasons in charge of the Lakers but has failed to bring the best out of a team including James and Anthony Davis.

A statement said: “We greatly appreciate Darvin Ham’s efforts on behalf of the Lakers and recognize the many accomplishments achieved over the past two seasons including last year’s remarkable run to the Western Conference finals.

“We all want to thank Darvin for this dedication and positivity.

“While this was a difficult decision to make, it is the best course of action following a full review of the season.

“The organization will remain unwavering in its commitment to deliver championship-caliber basketball to Lakers fans around the world.”

The 50-year-old still had two years left on his contract but after a second straight season of defeat by the Nuggets, senior figures were left with no choice but to change their direction.

The Lakers only managed to earn the No.7 seed in 2024 and had to qualify through the play-ins, where they beat the New Orleans Pelicans.

In each of their five games against the Nuggets they had double-digit leads but gave them up, which has been the story of their season.

Ham’s team started the season in poor form but emerged as champions of the in-season tournament, beating the Indiana Pacers.

Questions remain over whether James will commit his future to the Lakers, despite his family being settled in the city.

His son, Bronny, is closing in on a spot in the NBA and reports suggest James would like to play with him before he retires.

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