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Lakers newsletter: Who will be the next coach?

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham reacts during the second half in Game 2.
Former Lakers coach Darvin Ham.
(Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)
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Hi, I’m Dan Woike, and welcome back to the Lakers newsletter, where things don’t stop just because the games have.

Since the Lakers’ season ended in Denver, the team made a coaching change, the roster went through exit interviews and the organization has begun looking forward toward a huge summer.

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So let’s look at the top line item:

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Who will be the coach?

It didn’t take extensive conversations with Lakers sources to understand the team pretty clearly felt it needed to make a change on the bench, the Lakers firing not only Darvin Ham but his entire coaching staff last week, just days after the team was eliminated in Game 5.

The reasons — lineup changes, spotty in-game adjustments, timeout management, etc. — have been detailed not only after Ham’s firing but also in real time as the team’s fan base openly shared its frustrations.

Though the Lakers’ problems are complex and shouldn’t be squarely put on Ham (it’s not his fault the two key pillars of his team’s perimeter defense, Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent, weren’t ever healthy at the same time). It’s not his fault the good shots his team generated throughout the first round against Denver didn’t fall.

But enough of the other factors existed for the team to make its move — even if there’s no clear path for them now that they’re beginning a coaching search.

As of midweek, the team is still in the early stages, with both internal team sources and external coaching sources describing the Lakers as “taking their time.”

(Unless something changes with, say, Tyronn Lue).

In conversations with sources over the last few days, there’s a strong sense the Lakers are putting a premium on experience in this search — following trends where the Lakers have course-corrected from one decision by doing a version of the opposite. And since Ham was a first-time coach ...

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That means Kenny Atkinson, who has been on Steve Kerr’s staff in Golden State and who did well in the last Lakers’ coaching search, will be in the mix.

But while there’s a desire to find someone with experience, the Lakers, sources say, aren’t solely focused on that and seem to be open to speaking with candidates from multiple coaching pedigrees.

Yes, that means coaches with established records in the big seat on the sidelines. But it also means consideration of some of the most highly regarded assistant coaches, including those still working in the postseason such as Denver’s David Adelman, Minnesota’s Micah Nori, Boston’s Charles Lee and Dallas’ Sean Sweeney.

And yes, it means consideration for broadcaster/podcaster JJ Redick, who will receive serious consideration despite no coaching experience beyond his son’s youth team in New York City.

And, in the early stages, all signs point to the Lakers getting ready to cast a wide net.

The offseason starting blocks

The Lakers’ front office will be in Chicago this weekend and next week for the NBA’s draft combine.

Should they use their first-round pick at No. 17 (and there’s certainly a chance they’ll trade it), they’ll be picking in an interesting spot in a draft that’s actually considered fairly deep despite lacking some top-end star power.

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Size and shooting should be high on the Lakers’ list in Chicago.

Song of the Week

Pearl Jam – “Upper Hand”

The Lakers have lacked the upper hand in virtually every situation since the Russell Westbrook trade, and this summer probably isn’t different. But you know what is new? This Pearl Jam album, which is just a wonderful rock record. “Upper Hand” has the intro of a Joshua Tree song, the pacing of a Pink Floyd anthem and the dark guitar solos of Binaural-era Pearl Jam. Depending on the day and the mood, it’s my favorite song on the record.

In case you missed it

Lakers fire coach Darvin Ham in the wake of first-round playoff loss

Plaschke: Hasty firing of coach Darvin Ham is more Lakers madness

Lakers’ next coach? Here’s a rundown of the potential candidates

How LeBron James, Darvin Ham and the Lakers reached a critical offseason crossroads

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Hernández: The Lakers have no choice. They must do whatever it takes to keep LeBron James

Lakers eliminated by Nuggets in Game 5 on Jamal Murray’s final shot

Plaschke: Lakers stuck in mediocre hell with no hope in sight after season-ending loss

Until next time...

As always, pass along your thoughts to me at daniel.woike@latimes.com, and please consider subscribing if you like our work!

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