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SAD NEWS: Lakers under pressure as the lost there head coach Darvin Ham Fired..

Getty Head coach Darvin Ham talking with Anthony Davis and LeBron James during a February 3 game against the New York Knicks.

Another season for the Los Angeles Lakers nearly complete, and another head coach rumored to be on the hot seat. Is Darvin Ham coaching for his job?

The jury’s still out with three games to go.

He cited the Lakers ‘championship or bust’ mantra that’s gotten the best of coaches in the past as his primary reason for speculation.

“The championship-or-bust scale used to evaluate LeBron James-led teams leaves zero margin for error,” Buckley wrote. “Just ask James’ previous skipper with the Purple and Gold, Frank Vogel, who delivered a title run in 2020 and was ousted from his gig less than two years later.”

If Los Angeles can’t replicate last year’s postseason magic, that could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“If L.A. fizzles out in the first round or even worse can’t make it out of the play-in tournament, Ham could wind up back on the chopping block.”

With three games remaining, the Lakers are a near-lock for the play-in tournament once again. They took the same route to a Conference Finals appearance in 2023.

But it’s rare for lighting to strike twice, even for LeBron James and company. Speculation over Ham’s job security is warranted.

No team that’s featured LeBron James on its roster has been without massive expectation. And it’s typically of the championship caliber.

One could make an argument for the first Cleveland Cavaliers team he played with, sure, but even Paul Silas only got one pass year before being fired the very next.

Los Angeles is expected to compete, because James is one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game.

That doesn’t change with unexpected roster issues, or because a coach in his first season with the club.

This is Ham’s second year at the helm for the Lakers. The first may be credited to an unprecedented surge of chemistry and luck.

He’s been inconsistent at times.

And he’s made some mistakes.

But he’s also coached the Lakers in back-to-back, above-.500 seasons. That’s only been done in Los Angeles twice since 2011-2012.

Ham’s future is in question.

Unsurprisingly, James’s is not. He has a $51-million player option for 2024-2025, but is expected to decline it seek a new deal.

Should he decide to stick in Los Angeles, James is looking at a significant payday. Yet again.

There seems little doubt that LeBron James will play next season, his 22nd in the league. But will he pick up his $51 million player option with Los Angeles Lakers or test free agency?

Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz predicted James would decline the option but re-sign with the Lakers for a three-year, $162 million max deal.

“[F]or someone who has spoken openly about wanting to own an NBA team one day, don’t be surprised if James looks to cash in one last time,” Swartz wrote in an April 7 column. “If James wants this deal, can the Lakers really say no?”

Swartz wrote that James “looks like a lock” for the All-NBA team, averaging a team-high 25.4 points and 8.2 assists per game. He also has 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this season, barely below his career averages.

“If James leaves in free agency, he’ll take the Lakers’ title hopes with him,” Swartz wrote.

Swartz cited Anthony Davis‘ own max extension as a motivator for James to stay in LA.

Swartz added. “After Anthony Davis signed a three-year, $177 max extension with Los Angeles last summer, expect James to sign his own max deal with a player option at the end.”

As to who is coach will be next season and beyond…well, that much is up in air. But the Lakers’ finish in the postseason will likely determine whether or not it’s Darvin Ham.

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