Mike Budenholzer insists he is looking out for the best interest of the Hawks in the short and long term as the NBA trade deadline approaches.
Budenholzer wears two hats as head coach and president of basketball operations. He is a strong voice in potential roster moves. Perhaps the head coach wants to win now and the president wants to win in the future.
“I just think we are considering how we can make this team better,” Budenholzer said recently. “Is there something that makes sense for two teams, two organizations? We are always balancing the short term with the long term.”
The Hawks have been described as very active to be buyers in possible deals ahead of the trade deadline on Thursday at 3 p.m., according to a person familiar with the situation. They could do something considered minor or something considered major, the person said. Paul Millsap is off the table but the Hawks have plenty of assets. They have a plethora of draft picks, an open roster spot and expiring contracts in Tiago Splitter, Thabo Sefolosha, Kris Humphries, Mike Muscala and Mike Scott.
However, Budenholzer said if the trade deadline comes and goes without a move he is ready to move on with the roster as currently constructed.
“If we stayed the same, we would be okay and ready to go and attack the last (26) games and go into the playoffs feeling like we’ve got a really good team,” Budenholzer said. “But are there ways we can get better at a couple different spots? We would explore those.”
Budenholzer said he is comfortable in his dual role. The bottom line is working in an atmosphere conducive to sustained success. He said it’s a lesson he learned after nearly two decades working in the Spurs organization.
“There is great effort to balance the short term with the long term,” Budenholzer said. “How are we trying to achieve sustained success? That includes success now. You don’t want to do anything that puts you in a position where you can’t be successful long term also. It’s something that I’m very comfortable with. The way things were done in San Antonio gave me a great 19-year look into how you can have sustained success.”
Much may be made of the perceived added work load for those with two important roles in an organization. Doc Rivers is in the same position as both head coach and president with the Clippers.
“I don’t think people get it,” Rivers last week before the Hawks played at the Clippers. “I really don’t. When I was just a coach of Boston, I still had listen to every trade, every meeting. We had to discuss everything. Nothing changes.
“You just don’t have any off time. You don’t as a coach. You don’t as the president.”
Budenholzer said the Hawks continue to be set up much like the Spurs. Decision are not made strictly by the coach and general manager. He said meetings about trades and the direction of the franchise include assistant coaches and other front office personnel.
“The best decisions are made when everyone is included, everyone is involved,” Budenholzer said. “I think we are trying to operate that way. … Whoever has a great idea, it doesn’t matter who it comes from. You just want to have as many good ideas as you can.”
The Hawks have a history of making at least a minor move at the trade deadline. Last year, the team held on to Al Horford and Jeff Teague despite great speculation but added Kurt Hinrich. They traded Adreian Payne before the 2015 deadline. They added Antawn Jamison, who never played a game in a Hawks uniform, in 2014.
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