Hawks find a new head coach in Budenholzer

AP Photo/Nikki Boertman
AP Photo/Nikki Boertman

Since Danny Ferry became the general manager of the Atlanta Hawks a year ago, he’s been shaking things up with the franchise.

On Tuesday, the Hawks announced the hiring of Mike Budenholzer as the team’s next head coach before officially letting current head coach Larry Drew walk (although Drew’s contract was set to expire in June). A longtime assistant with the San Antonio Spurs — the dynasty of the last 15 or so years in the NBA — Budenholzer will bring a winning attitude to Philips Arena for a team looking to reach the NBA Finals for the first time ever.

So far, there hasn’t been a single iota of backlash from any basketball writers regarding this move. He’s been an employee with the Spurs since 1996, and he’s been there for the franchise’s rise to one of the greatest championship runs in the sport’s history. Since 1999, San Antonio has won a title in all four NBA Finals appearances, and they have already clinched a berth to play either the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers in this year’s Finals.

Budenholzer said he will remain on the Spurs’ bench through the end of the postseason.

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“By hiring Mike Budenholzer as coach, Ferry and the Hawks have taken a major step toward credibility,” said Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Jeff Schultz in a blog on Tuesday afternoon.

Whether this kind of hire will open the door for offseason signings like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, or both, remains to be seen. Keep in mind, the Hawks have enough cap space for two max contracts, and with the Hawks deciding against hiring Stan Van Gundy or someone similar, a coach with a track record of being in the shadows and out of the way could help lure some of the more outspoken talent in the league. It’s risky, but it will take risk to bring a championship to Atlanta.

We’ll just have to see what magic Ferry still has up his sleeve.

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