A league source also suggested Budenholzer’s future in Milwaukee could hinge on another factor. “I’ve heard things about his relationship with the Greek Freak,’’ the official said. “I’ve heard it’s not the best. I heard Giannis accepts things from him and respects him because he’s the head coach.
Some of those NBA officials are now wondering whether Budenholzer’s time in Milwaukee is about to expire – especially if the Bucks don’t make a deep playoff run. “Bud knows the situation he’s in,’’ an NBA executive, who knows Budenholzer, said. “There’s a lot of pressure on him, no doubt. He didn’t do so good in the playoffs the last two seasons even with maybe the best player in the league (Giannis). “Now, that they got Holiday. They gave up a fortune for him. So, he’s feeling the heat. I think they have to get to the Finals for him to keep his job.’’ Another NBA official echoes those comments, saying, “He’s on the hot seat. He has to win big in the playoffs. This is a tough business; it’s a bottom-line business.’’
There’s significant pressure on Budenholzer entering this postseason. And while the team dynamics are very healthy at the moment, with players happy with the coaching element and an internal confidence that they are the best team in the East, sources say Budenholzer is likely gone unless there’s a deep playoff run.
In the weeks that followed the loss to the Heat, when the Bucks were convincing Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign his supermax extension while dissecting their own demise at the same time, sources say there was a great deal of frustration aimed at Budenholzer that hasn’t been forgotten. The perceived lack of adjustments was a focal point, with Budenholzer himself admitting that coaching mistakes had been made along the way. Yet from ownership on down, there was an acknowledgment that the uniqueness of the environment had made it extremely hard to evaluate the true meaning of it all.
An NBA executive on Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer after Milwaukee’s recent trades: “His warm seat just got a lot warmer.’’
As Charania also reported, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is safe, but the questions surrounding his team’s postseason collapse will remain at the forefront.
As for head coach Mike Budenholzer, he is safe, according to sources. This much is certain, though: Across the Bucks‘ leadership group, there’s an understanding everyone must learn from this season and be better. They need to continue building a winning mentality, stocking the roster with key decision-makers.
“I don’t understand all the Bud hate,” the Eastern Conference general manager told HoopsHype. “They were underachieving with Jason Kidd. Bud gets there, and then they become the NBA’s best team in the regular season. I get where people say he doesn’t adjust in the playoffs. They were up 2-0 on the champs last year before losing.”
Budenholzer has now lost eight out of nine playoff games against teams with winning records. As this series played out, coaches, scouts and executives around the league hit on the same point: The Raptors and Heat simply asked more questions than the Bucks could answer, and Budenholzer refused to pivot. "In the NBA, you have to have the ability to build foundation and build habits and build fundamentals, which Milwaukee does," an NBA assistant coach said. "But you have to have versatility and different gears you can get to as part of your fundamentals to beat good teams. "I don't think Milwaukee has that, and Bud never did that in Atlanta either. It's always been, 'We do what we do.'"
June 20, 2021 | 1:02 am EDT Update
Shortly after his hiring, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer called Lue “the best coach in the NBA” considering he coached the Cleveland Cavaliers when they won the 2016 NBA title and appeared in four consecutive Finals. No pressure, but the Clippers have expected the same thing since acquiring Leonard and George two years ago. “I’m big on pressure,” Lue said. “If you don’t have pressure, that means you don’t have a chance at winning a championship. When you talk about pressure, that means you’re in a situation to win. That’s what I want to do. I want to be one of the greatest coaches. In order to be great, you have to win.”
Throughout the Clippers’ playoff series against Dallas and Utah, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, Jazz coach Quin Snyder and Clippers players all praised Lue for his in-game adjustments while convincing players to accept the changes. ““I try to think two or three steps ahead. I think my coaching staff does a great job of that,” Lue said. “We want to make sure when they make adjustments, we already know the adjustments they’re going to make and have a counter for it. So just try to prepare for it before they do it, understand what they’re trying to do and anticipate what their adjustments might be.”
Michael Scotto: James Harden on playing injured against the Bucks: “It’s basically a grade 2 hamstring strain, so the first possession of Game 1 up until Game 5, that was the first time I did any basketball competition against anybody. I was literally going out there on a limb.”
Royce Young: Did you know: KD actually wears a full size bigger in games than his actual shoe size. From @Herring_NBA’s 2018 story about why KD’s shoes fall off all the time:
Anthony Puccio: Brook Lopez smacks the Brooklyn logo on his way out. The franchise’s leading scorer finally got his revenge
June 20, 2021 | 12:41 am EDT Update
Ajayi Browne: “I’m still happy with my decision.” ⁃Blake Griffin on his decision to join the Brooklyn Nets this year.