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Hawks GM Travis Schlenk reportedly ‘hasn’t ruled out’ the return of Mike Budenholzer

Don’t jump to conclusions just yet.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment the Atlanta Hawks granted permission for Mike Budenholzer to interview with the Phoenix Suns, many have assumed that the head coach would not return for his sixth season with the organization. However, Michael Cunningham of the AJC brings word that GM Travis Schlenk “hasn’t ruled out” the possibility of Budenholzer entering the 2018-2019 season in Atlanta.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk hasn’t ruled out Budenholzer remaining with the team, according to a person with knowledge of Schlenk’s plans. Budenholzer is under contract for two more seasons and about $14 million. The Hawks have told teams interested in hiring Budenholzer that they will require compensation, most likely draft picks, to release him from his contract.

The AJC’s reporting arrives within the confines of a story regarding interest from the New York Knicks in Budenholzer and, of course, additional teams (headlined by the Milwaukee Bucks) could pursue the 2014-2015 NBA Coach of the Year in the future. With that said, it is very important to note that, because of Budenholzer’s contract (two years remaining), nothing definitive is in the air.

In short, Budenholzer would have to be offered a job elsewhere (something that seemingly never transpired in Phoenix), agree to a contract with another team and, after that sequence was complete, the Hawks and his new employer would then engage in discussions surrounding potential compensation. That process provides several moving parts and, even with full acknowledgement that it is unusual to see a sitting head coach “on the market” in this way, the Hawks and Budenholzer could certainly continue in a partnership moving forward.

Information in the NBA arrives fast and furious during the summer and this is an evolving story. Stay tuned.