Mike Budenholzer was out of work for 20 days.
The former Atlanta Hawks head coach reached an agreement to become the next coach of the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, according to a report by ESPN. The Hawks and Budenholzer mutually agreed to part ways on April 26 after the former NBA Coach of the Year interviewed with the Suns and Knicks despite having two years and $14 million remaining on his contract.
Although the financial details of their departure are not known, the Hawks are expected to recoup some of the money owed to Budenholzer now that he has another job.
The Hawks hired Budenholzer in May of 2013. In his five seasons with the Hawks, Budenholzer compiled a 213-197 record. He led the team to a 60-win season and berth in the Eastern Conference finals in 2014-15.
The Hawks announced the hire of Lloyd Pierce as head coach on Monday.
The Hawks are in the midst of a rebuild with a stripped down roster that went 24-58 last season. The lack of winning appeared to be one of several reasons Budenholzer was not happy with the Hawks and so quickly pursued another job.
“I never really thought of him leaving,” Kent Bazemore said at the introduction of Pierce on Monday. “I think I said at my exit interview, I figured he was here for the long haul. Things happen. Coach Bud has a good heart, a great heart. He did what’s best for him. You can’t knock a man for that. You can’t get upset. He will go somewhere and put his imprint on that franchise. He was coach of the year a couple years ago. The man knows his X’s and O’s. Won a lot in San Antonio. Last year was probably as hard on him as anyone else. For him to get out, he probably feels great about it and, like I said, I’m happy for him.”
ESPN reported earlier Wednesday that Budenholzer had a breakfast meeting with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Budenholzer had been linked to the Bucks prior to the end of the season. The Bucks fired head coach Jason Kidd in January. He was replaced on an interim basis by assistant Joe Prunty, who led the team the rest of the season and into the playoffs that resulted in a 4-3 first-round series loss to the Celtics. The team announced it would not retain Prunty following the exit.
As for his end with the Hawks, Budenholzer remained quiet. He did give The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the following statement following the agreement to part ways. “I have a tremendous appreciation for my five years with the Hawks organization. I deeply value the players that I have been fortunate enough to coach and the coaches and front office that I have worked with and their relentless efforts towards building a successful team. I wish Tony and the entire ownership group, Travis and the fans of Atlanta, nothing but success moving forward.”