Ex-Milwaukee Bucks Coach Among Los Angeles Lakers Coaching Candidates

After two years coaching LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham was recently let go by the team due to his failure to prevent the Denver Nuggets from eliminating them in the playoffs. Among the names being considered as his replacement is former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Milwaukee Bucks, Mike Budenholzer
Apr 9, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer watches the action Toronto Raptors during the fourth quarter at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Ham spent 11 years as an assistant coach for the Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, and Bucks since the 2011-12 season. He was then named to a head coaching gig, the first of his career, back in 2022 to replace Frank Vogel.

Milwaukee Bucks, Mike BudenholzerApr 19, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer looks on during the second quarter against the Miami Heat during game two of the 2023 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
From there, Ham spent his first season as coach trying to make the trio of James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook work. After trading the latter, the Lakers surged in the playoffs and made the Conference Finals in 2023. Unfortunately, they fell to the Denver Nuggets and found themselves eliminated from contention.

This season, though, saw Ham struggling to keep the Lakers afloat in a competitive Western Conference. After mustering enough wins to make the Play-In Tournament and obtaining a playoff spot, Los Angeles found itself facing the Nikola Jokic-led Nuggets again in the first round. Once they were eliminated, Ham was let go for losing his team’s trust and failing to make the most out of the roster.

Los Angeles Lakers To Consider Former Milwaukee Bucks Mike Budenholzer as Darvin Ham’s Replacement

Milwaukee Bucks, Mike BudenholzerApr 2, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer calls a play in the fourth quarter during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
With Ham gone, the Lakers are now looking at several names to replace him, such as Ty Lue, JJ Reddick, and former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. In a post Shams Charania shared on X:

“The Los Angeles Lakers have parted ways with coach Darvin Ham, and sources tell me and @jovanbuha an extensive search will commence soon, with candidates such as Mike Budenholzer, Kenny Atkinson, JJ Redick and, if he becomes available, Ty Lue among others,” Charania tweeted.

Budenholzer spent five seasons coaching Milwaukee and five for the Hawks before that. For the former, though, he has a record of 391 victories and 271 victories. Budenholzer also coached the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led team to a championship in 2021.
Milwaukee Bucks, Mike Budenholzer

Mar 27, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer reacts during the second half against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It remains to be seen whether Los Angeles will pick Budenholzer or other names on the list. What’s certain, though, is that he may have what it takes to steady the ship for the Lakers next season and help that team to get back to where they were a couple of years ago.
Milwaukee Bucks, Mike BudenholzerMar 5, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer yells from the bench against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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