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Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer ‘mutually’ part ways after five seasons

The Hawks and coach Mike Budenholzer have mutually agreed to part ways, general manager Travis Schlenk said Wednesday. 

“It’s time for both of us to move on,” Schlenk said. “We feel like it’s in the best interest of both parties.” 

Budenholzer did not respond to several requests for comment.

» Watch: 5 candidates to replace Mike Budenholzer

The Hawks gave Budenholzer permission to interview with other teams soon after their season ended. He is under contract with the Hawks for two more seasons and about $14 million, but Schlenk said Budenholzer is  free to seek employment elsewhere with no restrictions.

Budenholzer talked to Suns officials about their vacant position last week before later dropping out of consideration. Budenholzer interviewed with the Knicks last weekend and reportedly is a leading candidate for that job. 

Budenholzer, 48, coached the Hawks for five seasons and his teams posted a 213-197 record. The Hawks hired Budenholzer after he was a Spurs assistant for 17 seasons. 

The Hawks were 24-58 in 2017-18, last in the Eastern Conference, after they made the playoffs in each of Budenholzer’s previous four seasons. The Hawks hired Schlenk in May 2017, soon after Budenholzer resigned as the team’s top basketball executive. Before this season, Schlenk shed the roster of high-priced veterans while focusing on acquiring draft picks, young players and salary-cap flexibility. 

The Hawks posted a franchise-record 60 victories during the 2014-15 season, when Budenholzer was named the NBA’s coach of the year. The Hawks concluded that season with their first East finals appearance since the franchise moved to Atlanta before the 1968-69 season.

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