The Atlanta Hawks are in the heart of a rebuild after a 24-58 record in the 2017-18 season, finishing last in the Eastern Conference. Due to having one of the worst records in the league, the Hawks will have one of the top picks in the 2018 NBA Draft and a 13.7% chance of landing the top pick.
Usually, when a team struggles as much as the Hawks did this past season, the organization undergoes an overhaul that includes new coaches, new management, or both. Right now, there are rumors that head coach Mike Budenholzer could be leaving Atlanta for another team.
The Hawks hired Budenholzer in 2013 to replace Larry Drew. Before joining the Hawks, he was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs for 17 seasons. The Spurs won four championships during his time in San Antonio. As the head coach in Atlanta, Budenholzer won NBA Coach of the Year for the 2014-15 season and accumulated a 213-197 record in five seasons with the Hawks.
The Hawks should keep Budenholzer, but they have allowed him to meet with the Phoenix Suns to become their next head coach. Budenholzer was born in Holbrook, Arizona, so the Suns have a strong chance of convincing him to return to his home state.
Still, Budenholzer is very involved in the Atlanta community, and he has raised money for the food bank in Atlanta. He has also had great success in Atlanta as a coach, leading the franchise to a 60-22 record and an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2014-15 season.
The prospect of coaching a Phoenix Suns team with young talent like Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, and Josh Jackson is very appealing. Atlanta really only has John Collins to offer as far as a potential foundational player. Both the Sun and Hawks will have top picks in the upcoming draft, meaning Budenholzer would have a young star to work with in either situation.
The Hawks should do their best to keep Budenholzer in Atlanta. He is by far one of the NBA’s best coaches. He has two years remaining on his contract in Atlanta, and the Hawks should be willing to restructure or extend his contract in order to keep him as their head coach.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Atlanta Hawks article is published, fill out our email notification form.