Lakers hire Hawks assistant Chris Jent to coaching staff


Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has taken his time to complete his coaching staff. There were rumors that Rasheed Wallace would be on the staff, but these rumors have yet to be confirmed. The former Detroit Pistons star wasn’t ready for the top assistant job as Ham had his sights set on another for the closest seat next to him on the bench.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are hiring Chris Jent as their best assistant.

Jent has spent the past six years as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks. Prior to that, he bounced all over the NCAA and NBA. He was notably an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2006 to 2011, where he coached LeBron James for most of that tenure. He also has strong ties to Ham as they were both at Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta for one season.

With the hiring of Jent, the Lakers now have a coach who has worked with both LeBron and Ham, which should be an asset when the new coaching staff arrives.

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Jent has experience as a player

Jent has been coaching for almost two decades now, but he’s also had a long career as a player. The former Ohio State guard won a championship with the Houston Rockets in 1994. He also spent time with the New York Knicks. Both of those stints were brief, and Jent played most of his games in leagues outside of the NBA.

That said, like Ham, Jent’s experience as a player should help him manage a team like the Lakers that is full of superstar talent. As Ham’s best assistant, Jent will have many responsibilities. The first thing to do is figure out how to get an ill-fitting play list to play well in the field.

Lakers lose Quinton Crawford

Ham was not interested in bringing back all the coaches from Frank Vogel’s previous tenure. David Fizdale and Mike Penberthy were fired when he was hired. Ham didn’t want to completely clean the house, though. He was able to retain Phil Handy, who is considered one of the best shooting coaches in the NBA.

Ham also wanted to keep Quinton Crawford as he is seen as a promising young manager. Unfortunately, the coach had different ideas. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Crawford decided to join the Dallas Mavericks and Jason Kidd.

Crawford and Kidd knew each other as they were recently under Vogel on the Lakers coaching staff. Ham will now have to find another manager to join the team. Unlike Vogel, he has all the power to choose his staff and he takes his time. Wallace will likely eventually join the staff, but there will still be a few vacancies. He shouldn’t have any difficulties as the Lakers are still one of the hottest destinations in the NBA.

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