1 Looming question after the Milwaukee Bucks bring back Darvin Ham

Ham's hiring poses a massive question.
Milwaukee Bucks v Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks v Charlotte Hornets / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

In a move that came out of left field, the Milwaukee Bucks hired Darvin Ham to be the top assistant coach to Doc Rivers recently.

Ham is no stranger to Milwaukee as a player or coach, having played for the franchise in the late 90s and early 2000s and also having served as an assistant to Mike Budenholzer. After having been let go by the Los Angeles Lakers recently, Ham returns to the sidelines in Milwaukee. It's great to have Ham back in town, as the players loved him, but his return does pose a big question.

If Ham is the top assistant, does that mean Doc Rivers' rumored aggressive pursuit of Sam Cassell, first reported by Marc Stein (subscription required), has concluded? More than likely. Cassell, another former Milwaukee Buck in that same era, felt like a natural fit for the top assistant job, given that he'd worked alongside Rivers for many years as an assistant before this season.

Doc Rivers has been busy since the Bucks' season concluded

Coming aboard mid-season in 2023-24, Doc Rivers inherited most of the coaching staff but brought in a few names of his own. Once the season concluded, it was expected that he would make changes, and he has. The team let go of Josh Oppenheimer, DJ Bakker and Sidney Dobner, who were all there before Rivers took over.

Not only have they added Ham, but Stein reports that the Bucks are expected to add ex-Cavaliers assistant Greg Buckner as well. Rivers has been busy piecing together his staff with experienced names, and it will not be much of a surprise if more changes are made in the coming months.

It's not out of the question that Rivers could still get Cassell to join him in Milwaukee, but they are running out of chairs on the sidelines. Perhaps there will be more clarity on the situation once the NBA Finals, where Cassell is on the sidelines with the Boston Celtics, come to a close. Still, given that the top assistant job is off the table, it feels like fans should not get their hopes up.

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