Knicks to interview Hawks coach Budenholzer for their vacancy

Credit: Carlos Osorio

Credit: Carlos Osorio

The Knicks will interview Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer for their vacant head coach position this weekend, according to a person with knowledge of New York’s plans. Budenholzer talked to the Suns this week about their open head coach position before deciding to withdraw from consideration Thursday.

Budenholzer declined to comment Friday.  His continued interest in other coaching jobs indicates that he strongly prefers to move on from the Hawks as they continue to rebuild.

However, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk hasn’t ruled out Budenholzer remaining with the team, according to a person with knowledge of Schlenk’s plans. Budenholzer is under contract for two more seasons and about $14 million. The Hawks have told teams interested in hiring Budenholzer that they will require compensation, most likely draft picks, to release him from his contract.

The Magic and Hornets also have head coach openings. The Bucks and Grizzlies had interim coaches at season’s end. The Bucks are currently playing the Celtics in a first-round playoff series.

The Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek last week after he served two seasons as coach. The Knicks have interviewed two candidates to replace him, Mike Woodson and Mark Jackson, and reportedly also have interest in Jerry Stackhouse, David Fizdale and David Blatt.

The Hawks hired Budenholzer, 48, as head coach 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.