BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) --Rudy Tomjanovich, in his first year at the helm of the Los Angeles Lakers, reportedly will step down prior to Tuesday's game with the Portland Trail Blazers.

ESPN is reporting that the 56-year-old Tomjanovich, who missed Sunday's game with what was described as a stomach ailment, will be replaced by assistant Frank Hamblen. The network is reporting that health is not the only issue driving Tomjanovich from the bench.


Tomjanovich, who guided the Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA titles, was in the first year of a five-year contract worth a reported $30 million. He left the Rockets in May 2003 after being diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Tomjanovich succeeded Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers to three titles in five years, and did a solid job with a club in transition. The Lakers are 23-19 and seventh in the Western Conference despite the loss of superstar center Shaquille O'Neal.

In 12 seasons with Houston, Tomjanovich guided the Rockets to NBA titles in 1994 and 1995 with Hakeem Olajuwon as the centerpiece and is the winningest coach in franchise history with a 503-397 record.

Tomjanovich survived one of the scariest moments in NBA history on December 9, 1977 at the Forum in Inglewood when Lakers forward Kermit Washington shattered his face with a devastating punch. Tomjanovich filed a civil suit against the Lakers and reached a $2 million settlement.

Hamblen has been a coach on five championship teams, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and two under Jackson with the Chicago Bulls.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...h.r/index.html