The summer of coaching changes continues. The Atlanta Hawks and coach Mike Budenholzer have agreed to part ways, the team announced Wednesday.
It was a tough season for the Hawks, who finished 24-58, the worst record in the Eastern Conference and tied for the third-worst record in the league. The lottery-bound season ended the Hawks’ impressive run of 10 straight trips to the postseason.
A split between Budenholzer and the Hawks is not shocking given that the 48-year-old coach asked for permission to talk with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who broke the news, reported that it was a mutual decision.
Budenholzer went 213-197 in five seasons in charge of the Hawks. He was NBA Coach of the Year in 2014-15, when he led the Hawks to a franchise-record 60 wins and the Eastern Conference finals. Before joining the Hawks, Budenholzer was a longtime assistant coach for Gregg Popovich with the Spurs.
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“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,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “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 had two years and $14-million plus left on his contract, with the Hawks headed into a full rebuilding process.
Atlanta owner Tony Ressler and general manager Travis Schlenk met Budenholzer on Tuesday night in Atlanta and ultimately decided that a separation was the best course for everyone, league sources said.
Atlanta is interested in pursuing a young coach on the rise to evolve with the rebuilding of its roster. Atlanta has three first-round picks in the June NBA draft and the No. 33 overall pick early in the second round. Atlanta also owns Cleveland’s 2019 first-round pick, which is top-10 protected.
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