Lakers Rumors: Darvin Ham Turned Down Spot On Mike Budenholzer’s Suns Coaching Staff
Darvin Ham, Mike Budenholzer, Lakers, Suns, Bucks
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

With Darvin Ham being let go as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, what his next move is remains unclear. He still has two guaranteed years left on his Lakers contract so doesn’t need to rush into another job, but if he is unable to land another head coaching opportunity in the near future, it’s likely that he will join someone’s bench as an assistant.

The most obvious landing spot that would seem to make sense for Ham following his stint with the Lakers would be the Phoenix Suns with new head coach Mike Budenholzer. Ham, of course, spent a decade on Budenholzer’s staff with both the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks and a reunion in Phoenix would not surprise anyone.

But according to NBA reporter Marc Stein, Ham turned down that opportunity when Budenholzer reached out, perhaps due to mental exhaustion after his two seasons with the Lakers:

League sources say Budenholzer made a run at trying to convince Darvin Ham to join his staff in Phoenix, but Ham — fired as Lakers coach on May 3 — is said to have understandably passed after two exacting seasons in Lakerland. The Suns responded by asking David Fizdale, from Vogel’s staff, to stay on as an assistant coach on Budenholzer’s new staff after initially offering him a front office role.

Budenholzer reaching out is an expected move as he looks to fill out his staff in Phoenix. But Ham’s response would seem to indicate that he might take the year off from coaching altogether in order to recalibrate and regroup.

That is a move many coaches make and one that Ham deserves following these last two years. There is simply no other pressure in the NBA that being a part of the Lakers organization brings and for Ham’s first head coach experience to bring that, it is a lot to deal with and some time away may be best. Coaches are also often helped by watching the game from the outside and gaining different viewpoints.

If one of his most trusted friends can’t get Ham to join his coaching staff, Ham may truly be exhausted and just needs a break.

Former Lakers coach Darvin Ham spoke with Warriors about assistant coach position

The Suns and Budenholzer weren’t the only team looking to add Darvin Ham to their staff as the Golden State Warriors reportedly came calling as well.

A recent report noted that the Warriors had a conversation with Ham about a potential assistant coach position as their lead assistant Kenny Atkinson could be leaving for another head coach job of his own. Nothing is expected to come of the conversation though and Ham is highly unlikely to be on Steve Kerr’s bench next season.

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