The Hawks and coach Mike Budenholzer agreed to mutually part ways Wednesday but the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year may not be unemployed long.
Budenholzer, who had two years and $14-million plus left on his contract with the rebuilding Hawks, is reportedly very interested in the Knicks' head-coaching vacancy.
"I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here," Budenholzer told ESPN.
"From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I'll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks."
Budenholzer interviewed with the Knicks Sunday and would accept the job if it is offered, according to the New York Post.
“New York’s his top choice,’’ an NBA source told the Post. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’
Budenholzer and the Knicks talked after receiving permission from the Hawks. He talked with the Suns last week about their opening, but withdrew his name from consideration.
According to the Post, Budenholzer interviewed with Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry.
The Knicks are covering all their bases in looking for their next head coach. The Knicks have interviewed at least six people (Budenholzer, David Fizdale, Mark Jackson, Kenny Smith, Jerry Stackhouse and Mike Woodson). ESPN reports interviews with David Blatt and Spurs assistant coach James Borrego are reportedly set for this week.
Budenholzer has posted a 213-197 mark in five seasons as the head coach in Atlanta, reaching the postseason four times, including 2015-16, when the Hawks made the Eastern Conference finals.
But the Hawks struggled to a 24-58 record this season, and although Budenholzer still has two years remaining on his contract, he reportedly doesn't want to coach a team that is facing a multi-year rebuilding process.