Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said he’s long had a contingency list of head coaching candidates in case he had to replace Mike Budenholzer. That time is now after the Hawks and Budenholzer parted ways Wednesday night.
Schlenk said candidates wouldn’t be limited to those with head coaching experience. He said the most important consideration is a coach who connects with young players and helps them develop.
The GM said he expects a new coach to be in place by the time of the NBA draft June 21. The Hawks own a lottery pick that will be no lower than seventh, plus picks No. 19, 30 and 33. Soon the Hawks will begin working out draft prospects, but Schlenk said it’s not “mandatory” that a head coach be in place for that process.
Here are six candidates Schlenk is considering to replace Budenholzer:
Silas has been an NBA assistant for a total of 16 seasons, including the past seven with the Hornets. He’s an associate head coach for the Hornets, who also have a vacant head coaching position.
Silas was an assistant with the Warriors from 2006-10 and has been credited with helping star guard Steph Curry hone his pregame shooting routine. During Silas’ time in Golden State, Schlenk was a Warriors video scout and assistant coach.
Silas also has been an assistant coach with the Cavaliers and served as a scout with the Hornets and Wizards. Silas is the son of Paul Silas, a former star player and longtime head coach in the NBA. The St. Louis Hawks selected Paul Silas in the 1964 NBA draft.
Ham spent the past five seasons on Budenholzer’s staff, including the past two as the lead assistant coach. Before joining the Hawks, Ham was a Lakers assistant for two seasons. He was a coach in the NBA Development League from 2008-11, with one season as head coach.
Ham played for nine seasons in the NBA, including 75 games for the Hawks in 2002-03.
Fizdale was fired as Grizzlies head coach in November after hiring him before the 2016-17 season. Memphis was Fizdale’s first job as a head coach. The Grizzlies posted a 43-39 record in 2016-17 and were 7-12 when Fizdale was fired, reportedly after a power struggle with star center Marc Gasol.
Sveral teams reportedly are interested in Fizdale for their head coach openings, including the Hornets, Knicks and Suns.
Fizdale had been an assistant since the 2003-04 season. He was with the Hawks from 2004-05 to 2007-08 before joining the Heat’s staff from 2007-08 to 2015-16.
Tibbetts has been a Blazers assistant coach since the 2013-14 season after spending two years as a Cavs assistant. Tibbets interviewed for a position on Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s staff when Schlenk was Golden State’s assistant GM.
Borrego returned to the Spurs as an assistant coach for the past two seasons after he was on their staff from 2003-04 to 2009-10. He previously was an assistant coach in New Orleans (2010-11 to 2011-12) and Orlando (2012-13 to 2013-14).
Borrego was Magic interim head coach for 30 games during the 2014-15 season after Jacque Vaughn was fired. The Magic were 10-20 in those games.
Udoka has been a Spurs assistant coach since the 2012-13 season. Udoka played seven NBA seasons from 2003 to 2011, including the last four with the Spurs.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.