According to multiple reports, the Clippers will interview a top assistant for their head coach job: Milwaukee Bucks top assistant Darvin Ham. Additionally, Golden State Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown interviewed with the team in recent days. Ty Lue, who was Doc Rivers’ top assistant with the Clippers and won the NBA Championship as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, is still in the running.
Ham is one of the more highly-regarded assistants in the NBA, working under Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee. A bit of a journeyman as a player, he made 417 appearances for 6 teams between 1996-2005. He first worked as a coach in the D-League before working under Mike Brown on the Lakers from 2011-2013. Since then, he has been with Mike Budenholzer, first in Atlanta and now with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Prior to joining the Lakers, Ham was the head coach of the NBA D-League’s New Mexico Thunderbirds for one year, finishing with a 20-30 record. After that season, the Cleveland Cavaliers purchased the franchise and relocated it, creating the Canton Charge.
Mike Brown is one of the more prominent retread head coaching candidates in the league. He’s been on NBA benches for over 20 years, with three separate stints as a head coach. His record as a head coach is quite impressive–347-216 (.616) in the regular season and 47-36 (.566) in the playoffs, but he has a bit of a negative reputation because of the way his teams didn’t ultimately succeed in the postseason.
Working with LeBron James for five years during his first stint in Cleveland, Brown’s teams lost in the second round three times and the Eastern Conference Finals once. They made one NBA Finals appearance, being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007. While Brown wasn’t single-handedly responsible for those shortcomings, James making the NBA Finals each of the next 8 years didn’t dissuade critics who claimed Brown wasn’t getting adequate results.
Brown was then hired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, where he saw the team to a second-round exit in 2012 and then was fired after a 1-4 start to the 2012-13 season, when the Lakers added Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Despite the talent, that Lakers team never clicked or stayed healthy, and replacement Mike D’Antoni only saw them to a 7th-place finish and first-round sweep at the hand of the Golden State Warriors.