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5x NBA Champion Could Be Next Brooklyn Nets Head Coach

Mar 22, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer looks on during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After the Brooklyn Nets fired head coach Jacque Vaughn, the team promoted assistant Kevin Ollie to interim head coach. However, according to the latest NBA rumors, Ollie may not be the head coach beyond this season. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto has reported that former NBA head coach Mike Budenholzer could become the Nets’ next head coach:

Mike Budenholzer is the name at the tip of everyone’s tongue when discussing potential Nets coaching candidates due to his Spurs tree connection, winning a championship, and he’s arguably the most notable name on the market.

Most recently, Budenholzer was the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks from 2018-2023. In 2021, Budenholzer coached the team to their second NBA championship in team history after defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games. Last postseason, the Bucks lost in the first round to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in five games. Budenholzer’s controversial firing was a shock to the NBA world. Since then, Budenholzer was linked to teams like the Suns and Philadelphia 76ers, though he remains on the market to this day.

5x NBA Champion Could Be Next Brooklyn Nets Head Coach

Mike Budenholzer’s Coaching History

Budenholzer joined the NBA as a coach in 1996, initially serving as an assistant under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. During his time in San Antonio, Budenholzer was a part of four NBA championships. In 2021, just before the NBA Finals, Budenholzer joked about Popovich’s “Finals advice“:

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who was a Spurs assistant, joked Gregg Popovich has simply told him “you have to figure it out on your own” than relying on him for any Finals advice.

After nearly two decades with the Spurs, Budenholzer became the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks in 2013. In 2015, Budenholzer won his first NBA Coaching of the Year award after leading the Hawks to a franchise record 60 wins in the regular season. Furthermore, Atlanta advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the NBA split into two conferences in 1970. The Hawks would go on to get swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers, however. In April 2018, Budenholzer and the Hawks mutually parted ways just before he joined the Bucks.

In addition to his championship as the Bucks’ head coach, Budenholzer won his second Coach of the Year award in 2019. Furthermore, the Bucks finished as a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference each year of Budenholzer’s tenure.

Throughout his entire head coaching career, Budenholzer led his teams to a 484-317 record.

The Last Word on Budenholzer

Budenholzer has extensive coaching experience, but more importantly, he has championship experience. Although the Nets are not immediate contenders, hiring Budenholzer is a low-risk, high-reward move.

Furthermore, Budenholzer shares Spurs roots with Nets GM Sean Marks, who won a championship playing for the team in 2005. The Nets are reportedly exploring other options as well, such as New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego. However, Budenholzer is a good coach, especially defensively. For a team that needs structure and a boost on both sides of the ball, Budenholzer would be a good hire.


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