According to ESPN, Michigan coach Juwan Howard has turned down the Los Angeles Lakers’ interest in him as part of their ongoing search for a new coach. Instead, Howard will return to the Wolverines for the upcoming 2022-23 collegiate basketball season.
Though Howard did not show interest in the Lakers position, ESPN writes that if he had been open to coaching in the NBA next season, “his candidacy would’ve advanced rapidly” to a formal offer from one of the league’s most popular organizations.
Howard intends to coach his boys’ teams in Ann Arbor, Michigan, next season. Jett, the younger son, will be a freshman at Michigan, while Jace will be a junior.
Howard has a number of significant ties to the present Lakers club, making him an appealing prospect for both the front office and important members of the roster. Howard was a teammate of Rob Pelinka’s in college, and LeBron James was a teammate of Howard’s while he was a player and then an assistant coach with the Miami Heat.
After six seasons on the Heat bench, Howard interviewed for the Lakers coach before to taking the Michigan job in 2019. Even with all of that familiarity, Howard is said to have put an end to the possibility of joining the Lakers before it ever became a real consideration.
In three seasons as a coach, Howard has a 61-32 record, leading Michigan to the Sweet 16 in each of the previous two years and the Elite Eight in 2021 after winning the Big Ten championship. Despite the fact that Howard’s season concluded in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, he faced some unique hurdles this year.
Preseason top 10 aspirations were dashed early in the season, and living on the NCAA Tournament borderline became even more difficult when Howard was suspended for five games for assaulting a Wisconsin assistant coach.
Howard returned for the postseason, and Michigan, as a No. 11 seed, defeated No. 6 seed Colorado State and No. 3 seed Tennessee en route to the Sweet 16, but the Wolverines were defeated by eventual South Region champion Villanova.
After his first season as a coach in 2020, Howard’s name began to be linked to NBA job opportunities, and he has remained a coach of interest in each of the two offseasons since, with the Boston Celtics inquiring about his availability last year.
Howard has been very clear to us all that he has no interest in professional basketball right now whenever he is asked about it, stressing his dedication to his current role at Michigan. These NBA overtures are certain to continue as long as he’s still in college and Michigan is consistently making the NCAA Tournament.