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Lakers’ top choice for head coach was Juwan Howard

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After they fired Frank Vogel just after their final regular season game this season, the Los Angeles Lakers took their time in looking for a new head coach.

They ultimately hired Darvin Ham, but they cast a pretty wide net, as their candidates included Terry Stotts, Kenny Atkinson, Adrian Griffin, Doc Rivers and Mark Jackson.

Another candidate for the Lakers’ head coaching job was Juwan Howard, the head coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines. According to an NBA insider, Howard was L.A.’s top choice.

Via Lakers Daily:

“According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Howard was the Lakers’ preferred candidate, even over the likes of Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers and Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.

“‘The most interesting thing I’ve heard while we wait for Ham’s official introduction is that, according to the latest buzz in league coaching circles, Michigan’s Juwan Howard was the Lakers’ preferred candidate among the various coaches to whom they were linked who were under contract elsewhere and thus ultimately unavailable — ahead of Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Utah’s Quin Snyder,’ Stein wrote.

“‘The Lakers, I’m told, made such strong overtures to Howard that the implication was clear: The job was his if he wanted it.'”

Howard is best known for his 19-year playing career in the NBA. He played for a number of teams, but he finished his career as a teammate of LeBron James on the Miami Heat.

After retiring as a player in 2013, Howard became an assistant coach for the Heat for the next six seasons, including James’ final campaign with the team.

Right afterward, Howard moved on to coach the Wolverines starting in the 2019-20 season.

He ultimately turned down the Lakers’ offer in order to remain in Ann Arbor, Mich. and coach his sons Jace and Jett.

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