The Suns plan to hire Mike Budenholzer as head coach, per report

The Phoenix Suns are set to hire Mike Budenholzer as the team’s new head coach, moving quickly after the firing of Frank Vogel. Athlete Shams Charania reported on Friday.

Charania adds that the deal is expected to pay eight figures annually.

Vogel was fired on Thursday, and former Milwaukee Bucks coach Budenholzer was immediately linked as someone who would be prominent in the search, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Arizona Sports John Gambadoro went on to report that this would be a quick head coach search for the Suns, and would be narrowed down to just one to three candidates and completed by the following weekend. Budenholzer has been mentioned as the preferred candidate for the position.

Budenholzer (54 years old) took his first break from his work as an NBA coach last season since before 1996, when he first joined the San Antonio Spurs’ coaching staff under the leadership of Gregg Popovich. This was followed by two seasons as video coordinator. He would go on to hold that assistant position for 17 years before being named head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

Atlanta saw tremendous success with Budenholzer, winning 60 games in his second season when he was named Coach of the Year.

After Budenholzer got the Hawks into the playoffs in year one with a 38-44 record, Atlanta reached the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were swept by LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers. It would happen again the following year after 48 wins, this time in the second round.

A 43-39 campaign in 2016-17 came with another first-round exit, and by then, most of the core roster was moving on. Atlanta’s rebuilding process began the following year, with a 24-58 record.

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Two weeks later, the Bucks hired Budenholzer in 2018, taking a high-profile job to exploit Giannis Antetokounmpo’s full potential and win a championship with one of the NBA’s next superstars the way his predecessor Jason Kidd couldn’t.

Budenholzer has succeeded in this. The Bucks won 60 games during the 2018-2019 season, returning to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2001.

Budenholzer won his second Coach of the Year award, and Antetokounmpo won his first Most Valuable Player award. The bubble did not treat the Bucks very kindly, as despite their 56-17 victory, they lost in six games to the Miami Heat in the second round.

The third year is when it all came together. Milwaukee acquired Jrue Holiday, a team that’s a perfect fit for any basketball team, making the Bucks the preseason favorite to win the Eastern Conference. And they did, beating their biggest rival in the Brooklyn Nets via a seven-game thriller in the second round that ended with Kevin Durant’s famous “toe on the line” shot that could have changed a lot not just for the Bucks and the Nets. But so are the Suns.

Milwaukee went on to face the Suns in the NBA Finals, a massive six-game series that saw the Bucks rise to the top.

The Bucks were certainly expected to get back into the mix and won 51 games before losing in the second round to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Buzz from a Budenholzer-skeptical fanbase that extended back before the tournament came back, and although it was another solid 58-win streak in 2022-23, the Heat’s massive first-round upset led to Budenholzer’s win. the chapter. There have also been reports of his relationship with Antetokounmpo being strained.

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Budenholzer is a native of Arizona. He grew up in Holbrook in northern Arizona, where his father, Vince, won 10 regional titles and one state championship as a high school basketball coach. Vince is in the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame.

Mike Budenholzer’s aforementioned regular season record speaks for itself and he is a coach known for his specialty on offense, as his implementation of the system will be an upgrade after Phoenix was difficult to define under Vogel all season.

Vogel was fired after the Suns were swept in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves. They had a 49-33 regular season filled with warning signs of the team’s inability to communicate with each other and the coaching staff.

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