From the moment Travis Schlenk arrived and the re-shuffling of the Atlanta Hawks front office was complete, there have been whispers about Mike Budenholzer’s future on the team’s bench. Budenholzer is highly respected for his coaching acumen (to the point where he led the team to a 60-win campaign that doubled as the franchise’s best since moving to Atlanta) but, after losing personnel control and with a potentially lengthy rebuild in the offing, it would make sense that Budenholzer may look to explore other avenues if granted the opportunity.
On Friday, Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times reported that one such opportunity may have snatched his interest.
What’s more, multiple sources said two current head coaches — Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers and Mike Budenholzer of Atlanta – have more than a passing interest in the Bucks’ job and coaching the NBA’s brightest young star in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Some NBA officials said Budenholzer, who guided the Hawks to 60 wins just three seasons ago when he was accorded NBA’s Coach of the Year honors, also doesn’t want to be part of an extensive rebuild in Atlanta.
First and foremost, this report makes sense on a basketball level. Virtually any head coach would love the opportunity to work with Antetokounmpo and the Bucks appear primed for a lengthy run of playoff appearances, at the very least, as long as the multi-talented All-Star remains in Milwaukee. The team parted ways with Jason Kidd mid-season and, while Joe Prunty is at the helm currently, the Bucks are expected to conduct a thorough search.
Beyond that, it remains to be seen just how accurate this report is and, of course, Budenholzer is not the only active head coach mentioned. Names like Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are also referenced in the report and, frankly, one report to this end should not signify panic when it comes to the prospects of retaining Budenholzer on Atlanta’s bench.
The Hawks have been notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to Budenholzer’s contract status and that remains doubly true with any tweaks that may have occurred after he transitioned to coach-only duties. With that said, it is difficult to decipher the situation in full, especially when granting the fact that Budenholzer was not the hand-picked choice of Schlenk upon arrival.
It would be challenging for the Hawks to find an upgrade over Budenholzer at the head coaching position and that has to be said. Still, it would also be tough to blame him for glancing at a situation like Milwaukee with a raised eyebrow and this is a situation to monitor on all fronts in the coming weeks and months.