Mike Budenholzer saw his role with the Atlanta Hawks expand over the summer when he was given full control over the team's basketball operations after embattled GM Danny Ferry was granted an indefinite leave of absence. Its still rare in the league to see a coach in that role but its becoming more and more commonplace. NBA.com's Steve Aschburner recently talked with Budenholzer about the added workload of pulling double duty.
"There are extra things you have to do to prepare for camp and the season," Budenholzer acknowledged. "But we've got a great group. So there's more work but I think we can manage it. The team, for the most part, is in place. That's the most important thing."
There isn't a lot of construction left for the Hawks roster as they prepare to start training camp. Atlanta will have 15 players under contract once the deals with Elton Brand and Kent Bazemore are formally announced. A minor tweak somewhere along the line is possible but nothing major is expected to happen before the start of the season.
Budenholzer told Aschburner that his experience working for Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford with the San Antonio Spurs helped him to prepare for his new role.
"It's something where I spent 19 years in that kind of a set-up," he said. "To whatever degree I can be comfortable, I wouldn't feel that now if I hadn't spent all those years around that in San Antonio with Pop and R.C."
At this point its not clear what Ferry's situation will be with the team long term. CEO Steve Koonin has defended Ferry, who was disciplined internally by the team, but has to this point left the door open for his return. In likelihood, Ferry's fate may rest with new ownership once a buyer is found.
In the meantime its Budenholzer's ship to guide and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. His name that has been untouched by the turmoil that has surrounded the franchise this summer. He is a more than capable leader and comes with the experience of working with one of the league's best franchises.
Exit Question: If Danny Ferry ultimately doesn't return, would you be comfortable with Mike Budenholzer in the dual role as head coach and head of basketball operations?