Less than 24 hours after word broke that Mike Budenholzer was no longer a candidate for the Phoenix Suns head coaching vacancy, a new suitor was reportedly added to the list for the current head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Michael Cunningham of the AJC reports that the New York Knicks have expressed interest and plan to speak with Budenholzer regarding their opening on the sideline.
Knicks plan to talk to Hawks coach Budenholzer about their vacancy, according to league source. Still not ruled out that Budenholzer eventually returns to ATL.— Michael Cunningham (@MCunninghamAJC) April 20, 2018
In addition, Ian Begley of ESPN reports that Budenholzer will interview on Sunday.
Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer will meet with the New York Knicks on Sunday, per league sources.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 21, 2018
It comes as no surprise that any team with an opening would look to speak with Budenholzer, who is arguably the best coach “available” at the moment. It must be noted that Atlanta’s head coach remains under contract for two more seasons, making him less than fully available (and potentially requiring compensation for any team seeking to hire him), but the Hawks appear willing to let him engage elsewhere and the Knicks make sense in that regard.
In addition, the Milwaukee Bucks are likely to have an opening in the near future and Budenholzer was previously linked to potential interest in that particular position. Still, the Knicks come with their own set of challenges and intricacies, including the presence of Kristaps Porzingis (to go along with old friend Tim Hardaway Jr.) and a controversial owner with pockets deep enough to assuage any financial concerns that may have been real with regard to Phoenix’s open position.
It will be interesting to monitor this story in the future (including the reality that Budenholzer could simply remain in Atlanta) but, for now, we reportedly know that the Knicks have interest and Budenholzer might be willing to listen. Stay tuned.