Darvin Ham says no to NBA title contender

It can’t be easy being head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. There is enormous pressure to win on the franchise coach every day. That’s even more true when they have LeBron James on the roster. Darvin Ham certainly knows this firsthand.

About a month ago the. The 50-year-old Ham was unceremoniously let go by the Lakers after two seasons as head coach. With the amount of stress he likely faced from a fan base and media members who wanted to see him let loose, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he wants a break from the NBA. That appears to be the case after Ham reportedly turned down an assistant coach role.

Darvin Ham turns down assistant coach role after Lakers dismissal

Ham says no thanks to Suns

Another head coach who was fired after their team was eliminated from the 2024 playoffs is Frank Vogel. The Phoenix Suns fired him after being swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the opening round. On May 11, the team announced that they would hire Mike Budenholzer as their new head coach. Budenholzer was the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021 when they won it all (beating the same Suns team in the NBA Finals that he will now coach).

According to Marc Stein, Phoenix contacted Ham to join the team as an assistant coach. Ham has decided not to pursue the coaching opportunity.

Budenholzer and Ham have a history together. Ham was an assistant under Budenholzer while he was head coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018. From 2018-19 to 2021-22, Ham was again part of Budenholzer’s staff with Milwaukee. The following season, Ham was the head coach of the Lakers.

Ups and downs during Ham’s two seasons with the Lakers

This season the NBA introduced the In-Season Tournament. Ham’s Lakers were the first winners of the tournament when they defeated the Indiana Pacers in the finals. Last season, Los Angeles made it deep into the playoffs, all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

In both of his seasons, the Lakers lost in the playoffs to the Denver Nuggets. They were swept in 2023, this year they managed one win to extend the series to five games in the opening round. In both seasons, Los Angeles failed to secure a guaranteed playoff spot and had to forgo the Play-In tournament.

Before becoming an assistant coach at Atlanta and Milwaukee, Ham was an assistant coach for the Lakers in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. Ham also played eight seasons in the NBA, winning a title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. In his two seasons as head coach, he finished with a 90-74 record and a 9-12 postseason record.

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