Mike Budenholzer and the Hawks have mutually agreed to part ways, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (story). As Luke Adams opined last week, it was thought that it may be difficult for Budenholzer to return to Atlanta after interviewing for jobs with the Knicks and Suns, and it appears that both the Hawks and Budenholzer have come to the same conclusion.
Hawks GM Travis Schlenk confirmed to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the two parties have moved on, saying he “feels like it’s in the best interest of both parties.” The Hawks have also officially announced the move.
It is still unknown whether Budenholzer will retain any of the $13-14MM remaining on his contract with Atlanta, but it may not matter, as Stefan Bondy of the Daily News tweets that it’s possible Budenholzer may already have his next job lined up, perhaps with the Knicks.
If so, it would be a win-win for both Budenholzer and the Knicks, as Budenholzer has already been reported as saying New York is his top destination, while the Knicks would be gaining a well-respected leader in NBA circles.
Speaking to ESPN, Budenholzer said “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.”
Budenholzer was awarded the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in 2015 after a 60-win season and a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. He also won four NBA titles as a member of Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio.