Darvin Ham Shockingly Turned Down Mike Budenholzer Reunion After Lakers Firing

The former Bucks assistant refused to reunite with Mike Budenholzer in Phoenix.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer was hired by the Phoenix Suns once the Big Three of Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker had a disappointing first-round exit in the Western Conference Playoffs. The team moved on from Frank Vogel and hired coach Bud, who was the best coach on the market at the time.

Now, Budenholzer is assembling his staff ahead of next season and approached his long-time assistant coach Darvin Ham.

Ham, who was recently fired from his Los Angeles Lakers head coaching gig, turned down the offer, according to Marc Stein of Stein Line. Now, the Suns are looking for other coaches to be the lead assistant, including David Fizdale.

Budenholzer and Ham worked together in Milwaukee between 2018 and 2022, winning a championship together in 2021. Previously, Ham was working under Budenholzer for five seasons in Atlanta.

So, this is very surprising that Ham declined the opportunity to continue working under not only one of the best head coaches in the league, but also someone who he knows very well.

But perhaps Ham isn't ready for his demotion to assistant coaching just yet. Maybe he is waiting for a head coaching opportunity but that seems far-fetched after how things ended in Los Angeles.

Ham was unfairly scapegoated at times with the Lakers. Making it to the conference finals once in his two seasons there is not a failure given the fit issues with the roster. However, he may have to wait things out for a season or two before landing another head coaching job.

Budenholzer, on the other hand, will have his hands full with incredibly high expectations in Phoenix under new owner Mat Ishbia. The Suns are all-in and want to win a championship in the next two seasons. Whether former Bucks head coach and NBA champion Budenholzer is the man for the job remains to be seen.

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