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Budenholzer gone, but what of the assistants?

Darvin Ham has been the Hawks lead assistant for the past two seasons.
Darvin Ham has been the Hawks lead assistant for the past two seasons.

Mike Budenholzer is no longer the head coach of the Hawks. But what of his assistant coaches?

As general manager Travis Schlenk begins the process to replace Budenholzer, one he described that will be thorough, a staff remains in limbo. The Hawks and Budenholzer mutually agreed to part ways Wednesday night, ending their five-year relationship even as the former NBA coach of the year had two years and $13 remaining on his contract.

Of the assistant coaches, Schlenk said Thursday only that he had not yet reached out to all of them following the late-night decision and planned to do so over the rest of the day.

“Those are conversations that are going to have to take place,” said Schlenk, who added that players were first to be notified of the change.

Lead assistant coach Darvin Ham is considered a candidate to replace Budenholzer. He has been with the Hawks for five years and was promoted to lead assistant after Kenny Atkinson left to become the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets two years ago.

The remainder of the staff includes Taylor Jenkins, Charles Lee, Ben Sullivan, Chris Jent and Patrick St. Andrews.

Some of the assistants could remain on the staff of the new head coach. Typically, a new hire likes to surround himself with assistants of his choosing.

Schlenk said there is no hard date to replace Budenholzer but that the search would begin immediately. He said he assumed a new coach would be in place by the NBA Draft in June.

“We are going to find the right head coach for the Atlanta Hawks,” Schlenk said. “That coach is going to have the same job description or same end game as I do and that’s to try to bring a championship to the Atlanta Hawks.”

Budenholzer has interviewed with the Suns and Knicks. He is considered a leading candidate in New York. Now that he no longer employed by the Hawks, he is free to interview with other teams with openings, current and future. Budenholzer could bring some of his assistants with him should he get another job.