The Atlanta Hawks and former head coach Mike Budenholzer have agreed to part ways and there are several notable options to replace him.
Below are the top names that have emerged who could take over for Budenholzer.
David Fizdale, Memphis Grizzlies (2016-17)
Before he was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat and then head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, David Fizdale was an assistant coach for the Hawks. He held the position when Dominique Wilkins, currently a co-owner of the team, took over as VP of Basketball Operations for the franchise.
According to USA TODAY‘s Sam Amick, he is expected to land an interview with Atlanta for their head coaching position.
Among the candidates listed, he is the only one mentioned who has previous experience as a head coach.
Stephen Silas, Charlotte Hornets
Stephen Silas has interviewed for head coaching jobs before, including with the Charlotte Hornets and Houston Rockets.
Silas is credited with helping Golden State Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry develop his pregame warmup (via ESPN):
“Curry’s routine has taken on a few variations over the years. Former Warriors assistant and current Charlotte Hornets assistant Stephen Silas is mostly responsible for creating the foundation of the routine.”
One reason why he could be appealing for the job is that he once coached alongside Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk.
Darvin Ham, Atlanta Hawks
Hawks assistant coach Darvin Ham played for the team during the 2002-03 season. Kevin Arnovitz recently wrote about his development as a coach for the organization (via ESPN):
“He enjoyed a nine-year career in the NBA, and colleagues say he has a coach’s intuition. When Quin Snyder moved from the Lakers to Atlanta in 2012, he urged Ham, who also sat on Mike Brown‘s bench, to seize the opportunity to claim more responsibility in Atlanta. An assistant on Budenholzer’s staff, which is quickly sprouting its own coaching tree, performs a full rotation of tasks.”
The coaching tree in Atlanta now includes Utah’s Quin Snyder as well as Brooklyn’s Kenny Atkinson.
David Vanterpool, Portland Trail Blazers
Former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale has raved about the Portland assistant (via The Undefeated):
“David hates to lose. You can see the fruits with those two young guards [Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum]. He’s developed a top-five backcourt in the NBA. He has worked closely with one of the best offensive coaches in our league in [head coach] Terry Stotts. He has also witnessed how to grow an organization and communicate to egos.”
Vanterpool acts as a defensive coordinator for the Trail Blazers. Stotts has said that he already has the mindset of a head coach.
In a recent report for Yahoo Sports, he received the second-most votes from executives speculating which assistant coach would next fill a head coaching vacancy. In a year-end survey in 2016, Vanterpool received votes from league executives for best assistant in the league.
Nate Tibbetts, Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Nate Tibbetts interviewed to become the top assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. He interviewed for a head coaching gig with the Memphis Grizzlies before it was offered to David Fizdale in 2016.
James Borrego/Ime Udoka, San Antonio Spurs
James Borrego has been linked to gigs with the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns.
Much like Budenholzer before he was hired by the Hawks, he and Ime Udoka served as San Antonio Spurs assistant coaches under head coach Gregg Popovich.
Udoka has received wonderful reviews from Popovich (via ESPN):
“He exudes a confidence and a comfort in his own skin where people just gravitate to him. He’s a fundamentally sound teacher because he’s comfortable with himself, he knows the material and players read it. Often times, I’ll say, ‘Ime, can you go talk to so-and-so? Go talk to Patty Mills, go talk to Timmy, go talk to Kawhi.’ And he’ll do it better than I would do it — and I’m not blowing smoke.”
Borrego is also interviewing for an opening with the Charlotte Hornets. Now that the Spurs are eliminated from the postseason, expect both to land interviews soon. Hawks assistant coach Ben Sullivan was a video coordinator for the Spurs alongside both of them.
DunkWire, Top, Darvin Ham, David Fizdale, David Vanterpool, Ime Udoka, James Borrego, Mike Budenholzer, Nate Tibbetts, Stephen Silas, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs