Mike Budenholzer parted ways with Atlanta Hawks last month following a disappointing 24-58 season, but he may have his pick of at least two other head coaching jobs this summer.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that Budenholzer has emerged as the “focus” of the head coaching searches for both the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks.
Mike Budenholzer has emerged as the focus of the Milwaukee and Toronto coaching searches, league sources tell ESPN. Raptors are opening conversations with Budenholzer and Bucks will re-engage with him early this week, sources said.
The Bucks fired Jason Kidd early in the season, and the Raptors just announced over the weekend that they are parting ways with Dwane Casey. Casey led the team to a franchise-best 59 wins during the regular season, but Toronto was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs.
Budenholzer led the Hawks to the playoffs in his first four seasons with the team, including a trip to the conference finals in 2015. He’s well respected around the league for his ability to develop players, and the Bucks were already reportedly hoping to beat out one team for his services. They may now have to convince Budenholzer that their situation is more attractive than the one in Toronto, which shouldn’t be all that difficult given that Milwaukee has Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Mike Budenholzer is already a hot commodity on the NBA coaching market, and the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to throw their name into the mix now that they have officially been eliminated from the postseason.
It was previously believed that the New York Knicks’ job was Budenholzer’s top choice, but Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that the 48-year-old coach is now preparing to pitch himself to both the Knicks and Bucks. Milwaukee is a much better team at the moment, and the thought of coaching Giannis Antetokounmpo is one that should intrigue Budenholzer, especially with uncertainty surrounding Kristaps Porzingis and his torn ACL.
As Berman notes, the Bucks will be moving to a new arena and are “not afraid to overpay for the right coach.” You would think Knicks owner James Dolan could offer Budenholzer more money, but that may not be the case.
“Budenholzer and his coaches’ approach to development is top-notch,” one source told Berman.
The Knicks have already interviewed numerous candidates while the Bucks are just getting started. Interim head coach Joe Prunty had a chance to state his case for the full-time job, but getting knocked out of the playoffs by a Boston Celtics team that is ravaged with injuries to key players did not help.
Budenholzer and the Hawks parted ways last week after a 24-58 season with a stripped-down roster. He previously led the team to the playoffs in his first four seasons, including a trip to the conference finals in 2015.
Aaron Rodgers is now a complete part of the Wisconsin sports fabric.
The Milwaukee Bucks announced during Friday’s playoff game that Rodgers has become a minority owner of the franchise.
Rodgers is from California but has embraced the Wisconsin sports scene since being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2005. He’s supported the Badgers during their sporting events, attended Bucks games, and has been a fan of the Brewers.
Rodgers is the first active NFL player to have an ownership stake in an NBA team.
Antetokounmpo’s presence should make the Bucks job appealing for a number of candidates. The 23-year old signed a four-year extension with Milwaukee last year, and he has emerged as one of the best players in the NBA. He is averaging 28.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season.
The Bucks are currently 23-22 and hold the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They haven’t played well lately, though it sounds like more than just on-court play factored into the decision to move on from Kidd.
Could the Golden State Warriors be looking to sell off some of their frontcourt pieces before next February’s trade deadline?
Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic reported Monday that the Warriors have discussed a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, who have asked about bigs Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee. The Bucks also supposedly inquired about rookie Jordan Bell, but the conversation was said to have “ended quickly.” Thompson also adds that the talks have been “on-and-off” and that nothing is imminent.
Pachulia and McGee each fill a unique role for the defending champs, but there are only so many minutes to go around, especially with Bell’s emergence and with how often the Warriors opt to go small. At least one of those players was said to be unhappy with the Dubs in recent months, so perhaps a mid-playoff team like Milwaukee lacking in reliable seven-footers would make for a suitable trade partner here.
Tuesday night’s divisional matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks had a little something for the trolling enthusiasts.
During the Cavs’ team intros before the game, the BMO Harris Bradley Center played the theme song from the animated TV show “Arthur” and had an accompanying graphic on the Jumbotron, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
The Bucks are playing the “Arthur” theme song during the Cavs’ intros. Meanwhile, LeBron came to the arena wearing a hat with the Arthur fist meme stitched on it. So not sure how well that trolling will work. pic.twitter.com/0GJVIoVHHx
In case you don’t understand the reference, Cavs star LeBron James famously posted a cryptic “Arthur”-inspired meme to Instagram last month in what many interpreted to be a show of frustration. Granted, the Cavs entered play on Tuesday having won 19 of their 21 games since James’ post, so it may have been a risky (but otherwise priceless) move on the part of the Bucks.