An NBA insider indicates the reason Mike Budenholzer chose the Bucks rather than hang in through the Raptors process was expectations. If the Raptors fired a coach who won 59 games, what’s the expectation for the new coach?
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The Milwaukee Bucks today named Mike Budenholzer as the team’s new head coach. “We are thrilled to welcome Mike Budenholzer as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst. “Mike has played a key role in building successful teams throughout his career. He’s widely respected and has shown a special ability to teach and develop players. His leadership, basketball intellect, championship-level experience and communication skills make him the right fit to take our team to the next level.”
Budenholzer, 48, most recently served as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks where he guided the team to a 213-197 (.520) record over the last five seasons, including four playoff appearances and a franchise best 60-22 record in 2014-15. He was named NBA Coach of the Year following the 2014-15 campaign that saw the Hawks reach the Eastern Conference Finals. “I’m extremely grateful to the Bucks ownership group and Jon Horst to be named the next head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks,” Budenholzer said. “There are terrific people throughout the organization and together we have a tremendous opportunity to take the Bucks to the next level. I look forward to working with our group of young and exciting players and helping us evolve in many ways to succeed on the court. The venues are also in place with an incredible, new state-of-the art arena and first-class Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center. The tremendously supportive fans in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin are waiting and ready. Now it’s up to us to put all the pieces together, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Matt Velazquez: I’m sure many are wondering if I asked Giannis about his meal Wed. w/ Middleton & Budenholzer. I sure did. He chose not to give up the secret location: “We had a private place, a private little area that we went to, me and Khris and Bud. By the way, the food was great there.”
Mike Budenholzer has agreed to a deal in principle to become the Milwaukee Bucks coach, league sources told ESPN. The Bucks negotiated a deal with Budenholzer’s representative on Wednesday, hours after a breakfast meeting with All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpoand Khris Middleton, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Budenholzer is signing a four-year deal, league sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Toronto met with Budenholzer on Monday, but never made him an offer, sources tell ESPN.
Gery Woelfel: Bucks owner Wes Edens wanted Mike Budenholzer to be the Bucks new head coach and that has now happened.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Mike Budenholzer has reached an agreement to become the Milwaukee Bucks coach, league sources tell ESPN.
Matt Velazquez: Mike Budenholzer will be the next coach of the Milwaukee @Milwaukee Bucks, a league source confirms to the @journalsentinel. Story and more info to come on JSOnline.
Josh Lewenberg: Mike Budenholzer chooses Milwaukee, per Woj. Not a surprise (see my previous tweets). I get the sense that Nick Nurse is the current favourite for the Raptors job, although Rex Kalamian and Jerry Stackhouse are in the running, among others.
Zach Lowe: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mike Budenholzer had breakfast today in Milwaukee, league sources say.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Milwaukee Bucks ownership meeting with Mike Budenholzer and San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina on head coaching job in New York today, league sources tell ESPN.
The Raptors opened talks with Budenholzer over the weekend, and those conversations were continuing Monday, league sources said. The Bucks considered Budenholzer their front-runner after the opening round of interviews and are working to re-engage him in talks that will include ownership, league sources said.
After the dismissal of highly successful coach Dwane Casey, Toronto is selling the returning core of a 59-win Eastern Conference No. 1 seed, a past NBA Executive of the Year in Masai Ujiri and a streamlined ownership group with immense resources and a willingness to spend. Milwaukee is selling a transcendent young star in Giannis Antetokounmpo, a solid supporting cast and the opening of a new downtown arena next season.
Matt Velazquez: The Bucks will meet with Mike Budenholzer for a second time tomorrow, according to a league source. This interview, unlike the first, also will include ownership.
Adrian Wojnarowski: 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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: After Monty Williams interviewed for the Bucks coaching job on Thursday, two more candidates on deck this week, league sources tell ESPN: David Blatt and Becky Hammon. There will be a smaller group of finalists advancing to meet ownership.
105.7FM The FAN: .@GeryWoelfel – “The hottest name that nobody has talked about is Rick Carlisle…The word going around is that he is interested in the #Bucks job and if that’s true it would be a no-brainer. As far as front-runners though, I’m hearing Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams.”
Jon Horst: We have a well thought out search in place and are interviewing quality candidates. In the end we feel confident that we’ll find the right fit and the right person to be the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
How important is it for the coach to have NBA head coaching experience? Jon Horst: Experience is important and it’s something that we’ll certainly consider as we vet these candidates, but head coaching experience itself would not be something that we would limit our search based on. There are quality candidates that don’t have head coaching experience, and we’ll consider them as well.
What about a college coach? Is that something you’d consider? Jon Horst: Absolutely. If it’s the right person, the right fit and fits the characteristics we expressed earlier, then we’d have no problem doing that.
Jon Horst: We’ve started the interview process and we plan to move through the search efficiently. We have key dates coming up with the draft and free agency that we’ll factor in, but at the end of the day we’re not going to hire someone just to hire them. We’ll make the hire when we find the right candidate.
Gery Woelfel: Mike Budenholzer, considered by some NBA folks as the leading candidate for the Bucks’ head coaching job, has wrapped up his interview with Bucks officials. Budenholzer has made it quite clear for some time he covets the Bucks job.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Steve Clifford is interviewing for the Milwaukee Bucks coaching job today. Interviews set for rest of week include Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, Becky Hammon, James Borrego and David Blatt. Spurs assistant Ettore Messina interviewed on Saturday.
Gery Woelfel: Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks have agreed to meet soon. Budenholzer and Monty Williams, several league sources, are the frontrunners for the Bucks head coaching job. Bucks have had interest in both individuals for a long time.
Marc J. Spears: San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina is interviewing for the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach opening in Milwaukee today, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Hammon isn’t considered a frontline candidate on a Bucks list that included at least 10 possible candidates, but Milwaukee ownership and general manager Jon Horst were intrigued enough to ask the Spurs for permission to speak with her. The Bucks met with Hammon in 2017 about the team’s GM vacancy, despite the fact that she had no front office experience.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Spurs assistant James Borrego will interview for Milwaukee job next week, league sources tell ESPN. Borrego is one of two frontrunners for Charlotte job, sources said. So, Bucks will interview four Spurs: Borrego, Ettore Messina, Becky Hammon and front office’s Monty Williams.
Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst says the search for the team’s next coach is underway with interviews starting as early as this weekend. Horst said Friday that current coach Joe Prunty will be among those interviewed after the former assistant led the Bucks to a 21-16 record following the firing in late January of Jason Kidd. Horst says that Prunty “has earned the right to be part of this process. He will be.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Milwaukee Bucks plan to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon for the franchise’s head coaching job, league sources tell ESPN. Hammon is the NBA’s first female assistant coach — and now will be the first to interview to be a head coach.
Ex-NBA head coach Jim Cleamons had an informal phone conversation with Bucks general manager Jon Horst this morning in regards to their head coach opening, a source said. Cleamons, who was an assistant coach when Michael Jordan starred with the Chicago Bulls, is also getting interest for head coach openings with Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets and Chicago State. Cleamons, 68, won an NBA championship as a player with the Lakers and nine as an assistant coach with the Bulls and Lakers.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Milwaukee embarking on a coaching search with a list of candidates that includes several former head coaches: Steve Clifford, Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, David Fizdale and David Blatt. Bucks plan to interview those coaches — and possibly several more.
Several league sources believe the Bucks and their New York-based ownership will pounce and enter “The Bud Bowl.’’ Milwaukee was eliminated in Game 7 of their first-round series Saturday. At least interim coach Joe Prunty wasn’t fired upon landing at Milwaukee’s airport.
One person familiar with the situation said Budenholzer, who interviewed with the Knicks last week, recently talked of preparing a presentation for the Bucks and Knicks. In addition, Budenholzer considered the Knicks his top choice only before the Hawks fired him on Friday, allowing him to collect all of the $14 million left on his deal.
Sources have indicated an offset clause exists, meaning the Hawks can deduct any salary Budenholzer receives the next two seasons if hired for another coaching job. Owner James Dolan’s deep pockets aren’t the major factor any longer. The Bucks are not afraid to overpay for the right coach as they make a long-awaited move to a brand-new arena next season.
Prunty will be a candidate to keep his position, but nothing is assured. There will certainly be other suitors for what is considered the top available job in the NBA, with coaches like David Fizdale, Mike Budenholzer, Jeff Van Gundy, Ettore Messina, Monty Williams and many more floating around the rumor mill. “You know, in this business, there’s always a level of uncertainty,” Prunty said when asked about his situation. “I think that’s probably one of the misperceptions about professional sports is that there’s certainty that certain things are going to happen. What you do is each day you’ve got to show up and do your job and you work hard.”
Still, Prunty’s efforts did not go unnoticed by his players, with numerous voicing their appreciation for how he handled the transition. “I’ve been with Joe on three separate occasions,” guard Jason Terry said. “And every time it never ceases to amaze me what he can do: X’s and O’s-wise and then leadership. He was tremendous.”
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October 17, 2018 | 9:34 pm EDT Update
Adam Johnson: After being waived by the Bulls earlier this week, Antonius Cleveland has signed a G League contract according to a league source. His rights are with the Santa Cruz Warriors. A nice addition after losing Tyler Ulis to a two-way to the same Bulls.
The Detroit Pistons used their opening night at Little Caesars Arena to pay a final tribute to a fallen legend. Before the player introductions for Wednesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, public address announcer John Mason introduced Pistons legend Isiah Thomas. The Basketball Hall of Famer stood by a microphone and read a statement about Aretha Franklin, the legendary singer from metro Detroit who died this summer.
“The Detroit Pistons family and I were deeply saddened by the recent passing of a true Detroit icon. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was a shining symbol of this great city. She represented us all with dignity, style, grace and beauty,” Thomas said. After Thomas was finished, all but one spotlight shone on center court, with one microphone and stand. Then, a recording of Franklin’s national anthem played at LCA as the Fox Sports Detroit telecast showed a video montage.