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Los Angeles Lakers hire LeBron James’ former coach as top assistant

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The Los Angeles Lakers continue to shake up their coaching staff under Darvin Ham. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team has hired longtime NBA assistant Chris Jent to be Ham’s top aide. Jent overlapped with LeBron James for four years while on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff from 2006-11. Eventually, he became LeBron’s personal shooting coach.

Jent spent the past five seasons as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks, where he worked with Ham on Mike Budenholzer’s staff in 2017-18. Jent and Ham have maintained a close relationship.

The Los Angeles Times previously reported that Jent — along with Ham’s former Detroit Pistons teammate, Rasheed Wallace — were under consideration for a job with the Lakers. At the moment, it’s unclear if Jent’s hiring renders Sheed out of the running for a post on the Los Angeles bench.

Since being hired, Ham — who was given autonomy over his staff, a luxury not afforded to previous Lakers head coaches — has made significant changes.

The Lakers parted ways with David Fizdale, Mike Penberthy, and John Lucas III. They are reportedly keeping player development specialist Phil Handy on board. Initially, ESPN reported Los Angeles was planning on keeping Quinton Crawford, too, but Brad Turner of the LA Times reported that Crawford is set to join Jason Kidd’s staff with the Dallas Mavericks.

At his intro presser, Ham said he wanted coaches with all-around skill sets to round out his staff.

“Where I come for the last nine years (on Budenholzer’s staff), we did everything. We did development, we did scouting…It was a team. It wasn’t no coordinators on either side of the ball. We all pitched in on all aspects of our team’s basketball. I’m looking to build that similar type of staff.”

Jent, 52, played four seasons at Ohio State before a brief NBA career. He won a championship in 1994 as a member of the Houston Rockets. He’s also had stints as an assistant for the Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, and Sacramento Kings.