NBA rumors: Woj: Mike Budenholzer securing future by beating Heat and Nets

The Jump: According to Woj, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer getting past the Heat & Nets this postseason has gone a long way in securing his future in Milwaukee. Budenholzer has one year left in his contract.

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This is not new, it’s been the buzz from sources around the league for most of this season and been reported before: If the Milwaukee Bucks fall flat in the playoffs, Mike Budenholzer will be fired. Consider this an update and emphasis on the theme, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on his podcast, The Woj Pod (hat tip Real GM).
Woj: “If Game 3 was the apex of this series for them, I think it’s very unlikely and very difficult for them to keep Bud. He has a year left on his deal. They could have extended him early in the season or in the offseason. They chose not to. They were going to really ride this year out. “I don’t know if he has to come back and win it… If it ends in a thud, it’s hard to imagine he’s back.”
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.’’
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.
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.
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.'"
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