Lakers hire Darvin Ham

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Darvin Ham to join new coach Mike Brown's staff, the team announced Monday.

"I'm very happy to have Darvin join our coaching staff," Brown said in a statement released by the team. "I've known Darvin since his rookie year in Denver and have watched him make the transition from player to coach. He has put in the hard work that is necessary to have success at this level and I look forward to having him on our staff."

Ham played with seven NBA teams during his eight-year career and won a championship with Detroit in 2004 when the Pistons defeated the Lakers in the Finals, 4-1.

Ham, 38, most recently served as a head coach in the D-League and guided the New Mexico Thunderbirds to a 20-30 record last season. He spent three additional seasons coaching in the D-League with New Mexico, two as an assistant and another as a player-coach.

"I'm truly honored and grateful for Mike Brown, (general manager) Mitch Kupchak and the entire Lakers organization for presenting me with this amazing opportunity," said Ham in a statement released by the team. "I look forward to making my contribution in sustaining the championship tradition that the Lakers have established throughout their history in the NBA. I'm very excited about our staff and players, and am ready to get to work to help bring another championship to this prestigious franchise."

Ham's relationship with Brown dates back to 1996 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent rookie by Denver while Brown worked on the Nuggets' basketball operations staff.

Despite the lockout, the Lakers aren't finished hiring for the 2011-12 season that may never come. Brown said last week he planned to fill two player development positions and hire another assistant coach (Ham) to go along with his staff already in place of John Kuester, Chuck Person and Quin Snyder along with special assistant Ettore Messina and basketball operations assistant Kyle Triggs.

Ham has ties to several of Brown's coaching staff already. Kuester was an assistant coach when Ham was in Detroit and Snyder was Ham's head coach when he played for the Austin Toros in the D-League.

With free agent Shannon Brown expected to join another team once the labor impasse is resolved, Ham will ably fill in Brown's slam dunk credentials for the organization. Ham won the NCAA slam dunk contest in 1996 while at Texas Tech and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated shattering a glass backboard following a dunk against North Carolina.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.