The Mike Budenholzer era with the Atlanta Hawks is over.
After several days of rumors and Budenholzer interviewing with other NBA teams, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Wednesday evening that the Hawks and the head coach have mutually agreed to part ways.
The Atlanta Hawks and coach Mike Budenholzer have mutually agreed to part ways, league sources told ESPN. Story soon on ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 26, 2018
In addition, Michael Cunningham of the AJC brings word of confirmation, including a statement from GM Travis Schlenk.
Hawks GM Travis Schlenk confirms team and coach Mike Budenholzer have parted ways. "Feel like it’s in the best interest of both parties."— Michael Cunningham (@MCunninghamAJC) April 26, 2018
The Hawks then confirmed the report, announcing the split, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN then released this statement from the now-departed head coach.
“I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here. From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I’ll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks.”
Given that Budenholzer reportedly had two years and more than $13 million remaining on his contact, the details of this arrangement will be interesting to monitor. It would be stunning if the 2014-2015 NBA Coach of the Year simply agreed to leave that money on the table and, on the flip side, the Hawks have little incentive to pay the entire freight. To that end, some sort of buyout makes sense, though specifics could be difficult to unearth.
Regardless, the Hawks will now enter in to a coaching search and the task will be difficult in replacing an established, highly effective head coach. Still, whispers in this direction over the past few weeks (and, frankly, during the entire Travis Schlenk era) lessen the blow when it comes to the overall surprise here and the focus will soon shift toward the evaluation of potential candidates.
Mike Budenholzer helped to lead the Hawks to the best season since the franchise moved to Atlanta but, just one year after the loss of personnel power, he will be working elsewhere when the 2018-2019 season begins. Stay tuned.