Look out for the Bucks

In news that is shocking to nobody, the New York Post is reporting that the Bucks could get in the way of the Knicks hiring Mike Budenholzer.

One person familiar with the situation said Budenholzer, who interviewed with the Knicks last week, recently talked of preparing a presentation for the Bucks and Knicks.

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Why would Bud prefer the Bucks?

[Bucks] president is former Knicks executive Peter Feigin and they are financed by New Yorkers Wes Edens and Marc Lasry.

The Bucks’ roster is far more accomplished than the Knicks’ group, especially since superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is close to entering his prime years and Kristaps Porzingis (ACL surgery) may not play next season, at least if you believe Dolan’s remarks to The Post.

via Marc Berman, New York Post

And, frankly, his acumen is exactly what the Bucks need. The thing that proved to be a hallmark of Budenholzer’s time with the Hawks was his ability to develop and improve talent. That was the case year after year, as “Hawks University” refined one player after another and took their games to a new level.

via Tim Bontemps, Washington Post

Trust Bud’s System

In Mike Budenholzer’s first season as an NBA head coach, he led the Hawks to the playoffs as an eight seed (ironically, just beating out the Knicks).

Despite being overmatched, and missing Al Horford from injury, the Hawks extended the top-seeded Pacers to seven games, before losing.

“Trust the system,” DeMarre Carroll said. “Don’t try to go outside yourself.”

Some coaches preach winning the next quarter or the segment before the next TV timeout. Budenholzer emphasizes winning three-second cycles, whether it is fetching a rebound after an opponent’s shot or beating the defense down the floor. Capturing numerous cycles in a row, the thinking goes, begets winning.

via Mike Tierney, New York Times

Knicks fans unfamiliar with the spacing Budenholzer’s offense creates should like this anecdote:

The spacing on offense invites 3-point shots while creating lanes for the quicksilver point guard Jeff Teague and others to drive. No statistic better illustrates the Hawks’ fondness for 3-pointers than this: Only 42 percent of the 7-foot center Pero Antic’s field-goal attempts are put up from inside the arc.

via Mike Tierney, New York Times

Who is competing with the Knicks for their coaching candidates?

Bookmark this page to see which teams are interested in the same candidates.


Mike Budenholzer

David Fizdale

Jerry Stackhouse

James Borrego

Jay Larranaga

David Blatt


  • Mark Jackson
  • Mike Woodson
  • Kenny Smith
  • Juwan Howard

Budenholzer will make full salary from Hawks, set-off by any new salary

Budenholzer had two years and approximately $13 million remaining on his contract. He will get it all, which is a lump Hawks owner Tony Ressler did not want to swallow. But if Budenholzer is hired by another organization, which is expected — he’s currently a candidate for the New York Knicks’ job — his new salary will shrink the Hawks’ financial obligations.

via Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hawks GM says divorce with Budenholzer materialized over past few weeks

Travis Schlenk doesn’t provide a lot of detail, but it is clear that the decision to part ways happened over several conversation during the past few weeks. This wasn’t something they were thinking about during the season. Schlenk emphasized “it wasn’t negative on either side” but it was time for both sides to move on.

A common point I noticed in the interview questions and in print from Atlanta reporters was the decision to let Budenholzer speak to other teams:

This split was driven by Budenholzer, but it’s not like the Hawks handled it perfectly, either. Schlenk allowed the coach to interview for other jobs. By doing so, he created a situation that made the organization look silly — and looking silly is the last thing the Hawks need. They majored in silly under previous ownership. After two weeks of this drama playing out publicly, and with no clear resolution in sight, Ressler and Schlenk likely understood something had to be done to end the embarrassment.

via Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

So why did the Hawks agree to part ways without compensation?

Ressler and Schlenk would have liked to leverage another team’s interest in Budenholzer to get draft pick compensation. But the longer this dragged on, the less time it would give the two to begin interviewing other candidates.

via Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Locked on Knicks Podcast: Bud’s free, Fiz deep-ish dive, Larranaga interviews

Mike Budenholzer and Hawks part ways, which means Knicks can hire him without giving up compensation

“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,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “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.”

Atlanta owner Tony Ressler and general manager Travis Schlenk met Budenholzer on Tuesday night in Atlanta and ultimately decided that a separation was the best course for everyone, league sources said.

via Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN

And the reaction from people who follow the Hawks?

Hawks Subreddit

Marc Stein discusses the “complicated negotiation” looming for Mike Budenholzer on Dunc’d on NBA Podcast


“The reported number on Budenholzer in Atlanta is two years and $14 million-ish,” Stein said. “I’ve been told it’s even more than that…. He clearly wants to go somewhere else at this point. He’s interviewed with two teams. But what kind of separation agreement do you concoct when you’re making that kind of money?

“Is it inconceivable that he goes back to Atlanta? I don’t think it is.”

Listen to the portion of the podcast when Marc Stein discusses Mike Budenholzer and the coaching carousel.

View from the Hawks side: Mike Budenholzer

Michael Cunningham broke the news that Mike Budenholzer would talk to the Knicks about their coaching vacancy. He recently wrote how it would be difficult to see Budenholzer return to the Hawks, now that it is known he wants out of town (remember, he originally received permission to talk to the Suns).

Under the circumstances, I don’t see how Mike Budenholzer can remain Hawks head coach. As far as I know, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk hasn’t ruled out the possibility of keeping Budenholzer as coach even after he seeks out other jobs. But if Budenholzer were to remain it would be, in my view, an unworkable situation for the Hawks.

If Budenholzer were to return, how could the Hawks function normally with their coach unhappy with his situation and eyeing other jobs? How can Hawks player work for a coach they aren’t sure is committed to the team and may be a lame duck, anyway?

via Michael Cunningham, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Is Mike Budenholzer willing to relinquish control?

Scott Perry and Steve Mills have made clear that they are looking for a coach who would be part of the decision-making process, working as a team with the management group. Budenholzer was President & General Manager of the Hawks before stepping down last year.

How much say would he want in personnel matters if he came to New York? That could be a sticking point.

Budenholzer obviously wants out of Atlanta. His displeasure is related to losing personnel power to Schlenk last year, and Schlenk’s subsequent decision to rebuild via the draft. Remember, there were no head coach openings in the NBA after last season, so Budenholzer had little choice but to stay with the Hawks if he wanted to be a head coach in 2017-18.

via Michael Cunningham, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Reports say Budenholzer became disenchanted with the Hawks over personnel matters.

“He had control in Atlanta then lost control. So that’s a question. Can he deal within a system where he’s not the final decision-maker?” the rival exec said.

They probably never should have given him control to pick players and make those decisions. That’s not in his realm,” the Western exec said. “But he was in a perfect situation with new ownership. He had just done a fabulous job, it was a contract year so he could ask for what he wanted. But around the league, people think he is an excellent coach.”

via Fred Kerber, New York Post

Mike Budenholzer known for crafting systems around players

“Bud has this way about him,” Korver said as a Hawk about Budenholzer, who was a Spurs assistant from 1996 to 2013. “We really respect both how he teaches the game and the system but also who he is, his willingness to look you in the eye. Bud does a great job and they brought in pieces that fit. They didn’t just bring in random pieces for his system.”

That is key. Unlike past Knicks regimes, Budenholzer crafts systems around players, instead of trying to cram players into a system.

“He is regarded as a very good coach. He put in a totally new program in Atlanta very similar to San Antonio, but not exactly because he never had the playmakers off the dribble that San Antonio did. His is a lot more passing and moving and cutting,” a Western executive said. “He took guys and put them in position to have their best years.”

And that exec sees one primary beneficiary: Kristaps Porzingis when he is healthy following his ACL surgery.

He would put Porzingis in the best role possible to have success. He would know how to use him. A lot of these guys figure, ‘We’ll just get Porzingis the ball and let him do what he wants,’ ” the exec said. “He would put a system in where maybe Porzingis is a screener and the defense has to help [so] then he can pop to get shots or be like a high-post guy, pass the ball and then get a screen. He used Horford that way.”

via Fred Kerber, New York Post

Could the Knicks reconnect with Josh Longstaff?

Longstaff, whose contract was not renewed by Phil Jackson after last season, just completed his first season as head coach of Erie, Atlanta’s G-League affiliate. The expansion club lost to Stackhouse and Toronto’s minor-league team in the semifinals of the G-League playoffs.

Longstaff worked closely with Kristaps Porzingis for two seasons in New York and was viewed as a top developmental coach. That Longstaff was hired by Budenholzer, a coach who values player development, is telling.

If Budenholzer were to join the Knicks, he could potentially hire Longstaff, who could help repair the relationship between Porzingis and the Knicks.

via Frank Isola, New York Daily News

Mike Budenholzer’s connection to Kawhi Leonard is something to think about

Budenholzer’s connection to the Spurs and Leonard is worth monitoring since Leonard could become a free agent next summer. Leonard has been rehabbing in New York throughout the season and has grown fond of the city. There are reports that Leonard wants to play in a big market. The fact that Budenholzer and Leonard have a history together and that they are on good terms is something for Mills and Perry to consider.

via Frank Isola, New York Daily News

What would Mike Budenholzer cost in compensation?

April 22: One NBA executive said Hawks ownership ultimately may be motivated by finances regarding Budenholzer. It seems hard to justify Atlanta seeking major compensation like a first- or second-round pick, with cash considerations more likely.
“Ownership has quite a bit of money on the line,’’ an NBA executive said. “They may be thinking why pay him $6 million a year if they’re not a playoff contender? Why not pay someone $2 million a year for the next two years?’’

via Marc Berman, New York Post

April 20: Reports are Atlanta still would want draft-pick compensation — which sources said the Knicks are reluctant to give, and they assuredly won’t cough up a first-round pick. The Knicks would be more inclined to offer financial compensation, which could be a sticking point.

via Marc Berman, New York Post

April 17: Budenholzer is under contract with the Hawks for two more seasons and about $14 million. When granting the Suns permission to speak to Budenholzer last week, the Hawks indicated that he would not be released from his contract without compensation.Doc Rivers left the Celtics to become Clippers coach under similar circumstances before the 2013-14 season. At the time, Rivers had three years and $21 million remaining on his contract. As compensation the Celtics received an unprotected first-round pick in the 2015 draft from the Clippers, which ended up being the No. 28 overall.

via Michael Cunningham, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mike Budenholzer wants to coach the Knicks?

Mike Budenholzer tired of losing

It was unclear why Mike Budenholzer would want out of Atlanta with two-years and $14 million remaining on his contract, but we now might have a hint.

Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.

“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Budenholzer would be the anti-tanking hire. The Knicks have talked about taking a patient approach with their rebuild; but based on this quote, if they hire Bud, you would have to believe the organization is on the same page as him in terms of wanting to win sooner rather than later.

Budenholzer appears so disillusioned with the current Hawks’ philosophy, it’s difficult to imagine him returning. Atlanta is adopting the blueprint set by the “Trust The Process’’ Sixers

“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’

via Marc Berman, New York Post

Hardaway talks about how Budenholzer helped his game

Budenholzer, who came out of the Spurs’ coaching tree rooted in defense, had solid success in turning around Tim Hardaway Jr.’s career in Atlanta.

Hardaway has given Budenholzer mounds of credit for making him a better defender and forcing him to get into better shape. Knicks brass is obsessed with making the club stronger defensively next season and creating that as an identity.

Hardaway, in his second stint with the Knicks, sounded frustrated at the firing of Jeff Hornacek, noting the next coach will mark the fifth he has played for in his NBA career. If Budenholzer were to take over, however, it would be still be four.

“[Budenholzer’s staff] made me mature as a ballplayer on and off the floor, made me an all-out competitor, the grinding, the time I spend with the coaching staff and strength coach,’’ Hardaway said earlier this season. “It was very memorable. The atmosphere was something I’ll never be able to describe.”

via Marc Berman, New York Post

If James Dolan is looking for a coach who connects with his players, Budenholzer is a good start…

“He’s not afraid to say he made a mistake. We really respect that,” DeMarre Carroll said. “He calls you often and sends you text messages after games. Most coaches don’t do that. The game is over, and they don’t have communication until the next time they see you.”“But more than that, he’s a great person. He cares about his players. That’s hard to find in the NBA. He’s got all the aspects of a great coach.”

via Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today