Milwaukee Bucks officially hire former Lakers’ assistant Jim Cleamons

After spending most of his career as an assistant for the NBA’s all-time winningest coach, Jim Cleamons had joined the Milwaukee Bucks coaching staff.

Milwaukee general manager John Hammond announced the hire on Wednesday. The rest of Larry Drew’s coaching staff will include Scott Williams, Josh Oppenheimer, Bob Bender and former Lakers guard Nick Van Exel.

“I’m excited to be able to assemble this strong coaching staff in Milwaukee,” Drew said in a statement to the Associated Press. “Jim, Scott and Josh all bring their unique experiences to the Bucks bench as well as diverse coaching skills.”

Cleamons won a ring with the Lakers as a player as part of the 1971-72 championship team. He also collected five titles with the Lakers as an assistant coach to Phil Jackson.

Cleamons worked as an assistant for Phil Jackson in all five of his championship seasons with the Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010). He had been on Jackson’s staff with the Chicago Bulls (1989-1996), and was a part of four of Jackson’s six NBA title runs there. And Cleamons also briefly worked with former Laker Byron Scott for two seasons (2004-06) with the New Orleans Hornets. His sole NBA head-coaching experience happened with the Dallas Mavericks, where he finished with a 24-58 record in the 1996-97 season and 28-72 overall before being fired 16 games into the 1997-98 campaign. He also coached in college at Youngstown State from 1987 to 1989.

Cleamons had spent one season in the summer of 2011 coaching overseas with Zhejian in China, which included briefly coaching former Lakers forward Earl Clark. Cleamons had been interested in coaching in college, but opportunities never materialized.

Cleamons was drafted by the Lakers in 1971 and was apart of the 1972 NBA championship team that won an league-record 33 consecutive games.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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