Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has a genuine interest in the Knicks’ coaching vacancy, Marc Berman of The New York Post reports.
“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source tells Berman. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’
Atlanta appears to be heading toward a Process-like rebuild, something Budenholzer isn’t pleased with.
“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’
Budenholzer has two years and $13MM remaining on his deal, though the Hawks seem open to letting him coach elsewhere next season, as they’ve already allowed him to interview with the Suns and Knicks. Budenholzer withdrew his name from the Phoenix job last week.
Atlanta could be looking for compensation in return for its coach. However, Berman hears that finances may be the franchise’s top priority, meaning they could ultimately end up receiving cash considerations rather than draft picks from a team looking to bring Budenholzer aboard.
“Ownership has quite a bit of money on the line,’’ an NBA executive said. “They may be thinking why pay him $6 million a year if they’re not a playoff contender? Why not pay someone $2 million a year for the next two years?’’
Budenholzer previously coached the Knicks’ highest-paid player, Tim Hardaway Jr., while the shooting guard was in Atlanta and he helped the Michigan product develop into a serviceable option. That, along with his excellent reputation, could give him a leg up for the job in New York.
“He’s an excellent coach and teacher,’’ another NBA personnel director tells Berman. “He’s really a student of the game and did a very good job developing young players. He’s a good combo of disciplinarian and players coach. Doc Rivers isn’t a bad comparison.”