Suns' first choice for coaching role rejects offer to join

The Phoenix Suns need to fill out their coaching ticket, but their ideal target has reportedly turned them down.
Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Two
Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns moved quick to hire Mike Budenholzer as their new head coach after canning Frank Vogel this offseason, yet another signal of intent from owner Mat Ishbia that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win a championship.

With lead assistant Kevin Young having also left the organization for the college game and the opportunity to run the show at BYU, the franchise all of a sudden were missing the two leading voices from their bench. There was some good news however, in the form of David Fizdale agreeing to stick around on the coaches bench, for now at least.

The Suns have now been dealt another blow in their quest to fill out their coaching ticket however, with Darvin Ham having reportedly turned a job offer down.

That's according to Marc Stein, who reported that Ham was approached by Budenholzer to join his coaching staff soon after getting the top gig himself, but that he turned it down. Stein went on to say that;

"(Mike) Budenholzer made a run at trying to convince (Darvin) Ham... (but he) understandably passed after two exacting seasons in Lakerland. The Suns responded by asking David Fizdale, from (Frank) Vogel's staff, to stay on as an assistant coach on Budenholzer's new staff after initially offering him a front office role."

Marc Stein

Already we have looked at the merits of the Suns going after Ham, so not getting their man is a blow for this franchise. Ham's reputation may have taken a hit as the leading man in Los Angeles, but he was an assistant with Budenholzer on both a 60 win Atlanta Hawks group, and also the Milwaukee Bucks of 2021 that beat the Suns in the finals to win a championship.

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There are few better individuals the Suns could have paired with Budenholzer to get their project to the next level, although Fizdale has helped smooth over this miss by not moving up to the front office just yet. He is a voice that the players respect, and who has no interest in taking Budenholzer's job if this partnership gets off to a rocky start.

Perhaps the Suns just need to let Ham have a little bit of time away from the game, and hope that he realizes how much he misses being out of the league. Thankfully they do also have time on their side, as well as a full offseason to examine other options to explore if Ham really can't be coaxed back into the game. As of now though, this goes down as an unwanted miss for the franchise.