Hawks announce promotions of Budenholzer, Wilcox

The first move of Hawks’ new ownership became official Tuesday when the team announced the promotions of Mike Budenholzer to president of basketball operations and head coach and Wes Wilcox to general manager.

The moves were reported earlier this month and principal owner Tony Ressler said at last week’s introductory news conference that a handshake agreement was in place.

Terms of the deals were not released.

Budenholzer was entering the final season of the three-year contract he signed to become head coach in 2013. He will be the fifth coach in the NBA who also serves as president of basketball operations.

Budenholer and Wilcox replace Danny Ferry, who had both titles before reaching a buyout with the franchise last week before new ownership took control.

Ressler said he believes in the tandem and the success they showed during Ferry’s season-long leave of absence.

“It really is collaborative,” Ressler told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It really is a complement. Two guys truly complement one another. I thought and I think yes in a very, very strong way. I appreciate the majority of the NBA franchises don’t have their coach as the president of basketball operations. This wasn’t done without real discussion and thought. But for what it’s worth, I think the guy has an extraordinary insight into players and is an extraordinary coach. I think Wes has as well. And I think that team, that partnership, from what I can tell and what I have seen, truly works, adds stability to the franchise and carries on what we have seen.”

Budenholzer was named the NBA Coach of the Year after leading the Hawks to a franchise-record 60-22 mark last season. He won the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in both December and January, the first Hawks coach to win the honor in back-to-back months. He and his staff coached the Eastern Conference All-Star team in New York.

Wilcox was the Hawks’ assistant general manager the past three seasons. He has worked in the NBA for 14 years. He was director of player personnel for the Cavaliers and served as the first general manager of the club’s NBA Development League team, the Canton Charge. He joined the Cavaliers in 2003 and also held roles of advance scout, college scout, pro personnel scout and assistant coach before his promotion to director of player personnel. Wilcox got his NBA start in 2001-02 as an intern with the Heat in their scouting/video department before moving to New Orleans as the team’s video coordinator in 2002-03.

“In this particular case, the continuity was important,” co-owner Grant Hill told the AJC. “The last year, was a proving ground. So much of that role is you have to pick players and put a team together, but you also have to manage a team, you have to manage a season. I think this year was a great proving ground for this model. Through some difficulties, they showed and demonstrated that they are capable of being successful and working well together. … The working relationship between Bud and Wes was a large part why this team had such a great season and why there is so much momentum generated. It’s connected and resonated with the fans in Atlanta. You have to recognize when things work. It might be non-traditional is some respects but after a lot of thought, we feel like this is the right model for us.”