Mike Budenholzer On GM Duties, Roster, East

Mike Budenholzer probably didn’t bank on adding responsibility over Atlanta’s basketball operations to his coaching duties after just one season as an NBA head coach, but the controversy surrounding the team has left him with a dual capacity. He’s serving as an interim GM while Danny Ferry is on an indefinite leave of absence, but in his comments today to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Budenholzer suggested the most difficult part has been seeing Ferry, whom he calls a friend, suffer under the harsh light of scrutiny. The coach/executive called Ferry’s racially derogatory statements about Luol Deng “out of character,” and dished on his new job and more in his conversation with Vivlamore. The entire interview is worth a read, but we’ll pull out three highlights here:

On how he’ll handle two jobs at once:

We have an incredible group here with our management and our basketball operations, scouts, assistant coaches and medical staff. I think it’s what we feel is the best solution in a tough time. I’m excited to continue to fight for our guy, protect our guys and protect what we have been building and continue to move us forward. We have done everything collaboratively since I arrived. So in a lot of ways as much as possible we are going to continue to work and continue to do business. In a tough time, this is the best solution.”

On the battle for roster spots in camp:

I think there is still competition. Guys come to camp and they come to make the team. I think we are in a situation where salary-wise and cap-wise we have some flexibility. I think we want to leave ourselves open to competition, most importantly, in putting together the best team we can. I think fortunately for us there is still opportunity for us, there is still flexibility in all ways, shapes and forms.”

On the team’s place in the Eastern Conference hierarchy:

It’s strange. I don’t really pay that close attention to the rest of the East or the entire NBA. We are in such that building mode and that beginning phase mode that I’m really focused on our guys. I genuinely mean that. I think there are fans out there that know more about the East than I do. Hopefully I know more about the Hawks than they do. I know LeBron is in Cleveland now and Chicago has made some good additions, mostly Derrick Rose coming back healthy. I think you can go down the list of how the teams have improved. To whatever degree, I am aware of all that. I’m significantly more focused on what we are doing and hope that we can have that daily approach and be worried about ourselves. We’ll find our spot in that mix of teams.”

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