After Mike Budenhozer was stripped of GM powers in Atlanta last May (technically he resigned, but…) there was a lot of speculation around the league he would leave as the team’s coach eventually as well. He was brought in to build a culture and did that — the Hawks went to the playoffs his first four seasons and that includes a 60-win season and trip to the conference Finals — but with the Hawks in a rebuild did he want to stick around?
Enter the Phoenix Suns, who could use a coach to establish a culture. From Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Atlanta Hawks have granted coach Mike Budenholzer permission to speak with the Phoenix Suns about their head-coaching vacancy, league sources told ESPN….
So far, the Suns’ coaching search appears focused on securing a candidate with a successful head-coaching resume in the NBA. The Suns still are considering interim coach Jay Triano, who replaced Earl Watson three games into the regular season.
The Suns are rebuilding as well, but they are farther along in the process thanks to drafting Devin Booker. What Phoenix needs is someone who can Budenholzer is a smart tactician who comes out of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree — he understands how to develop players and the importance of that.
This fit makes sense, and it would give Atlanta GM Travis Schlenk a chance to put his guy in place, rather than the expensive guy (two years, $14 million left) he inherited. That said, there is no sign this is anywhere near a done deal. Budenholzer will want to get a feel for GM Ryan McDonough and will have questions about the commitment and willingness to spend of owner Robert Sarver. There’s a lot of work to do, but keep your eye on this potential pairing.