3 Lakers on the Chopping Block Next After Darvin Ham Firing

With the Los Angeles Lakers firing Darvin Ham, there are a few players who might not be returning to LA next season.
Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Two
Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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After a disappointing performance in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers dismissed head coach Darvin Ham on Friday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Ham’s two-year tenure with the Lakers saw him lead the team to the Western Conference Finals last season, an In-Season tournament title, and 47 wins this season. However, those accolades weren’t enough to keep him around as general manager Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers’ front office will be searching for a new head coach who will get this franchise back to the top of the Western Conference.

At the same time, there will be a few players, who might not be back with the team next season with Ham out the door. Most Lakers fans are worried about what LeBron James will or won’t do as he ages.

But other players on the team struggled this season and may be better suited to play elsewhere next season. Below, we’ll highlight some of those names and discuss their future in LA.

1. D’Angelo Russell

The 28-year-old Russell has a player option next season worth $18.6 million, which he will likely opt into. However, that doesn’t mean the Lakers will keep Russell as they could use his salary to facilitate a trade to upgrade the point guard spot.

The veteran combo guard was inconsistent in the first round against the Denver Nuggets after averaging 18 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game in the regular season. Russell also shot 45.6 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three-point range.

Russell couldn’t find that shooting touch when the NBA playoffs rolled around, as he scored 14.2 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc. 

The veteran guard also had a terrible performance in Game 3, shooting a dismal 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-6 from deep for zero points in 24 minutes. For the Lakers to be successful next season, they need more consistency from their starting point guard, and Russell isn’t the answer.

However, for the Lakers to upgrade the point guard, they’ll have to convince someone to take Russell off their hands, which is easier said than done.