Milwaukee Bucks fire head coach Mike Budenholzer
It took Mike Budenholzer one season to help the Milwaukee Bucks secure their first division title since 2000-2001 and three seasons to lead the franchise to its first NBA championship since 1971.
On Thursday, it took 87 words for the team to part ways with Budenholzer.
In a release from the Bucks, general manager Jon Horst said: “The decision to make this change was very difficult. Bud helped lead our team for five incredible seasons, to the Bucks’ first title in 50 years, and into an era of sustained success. We are grateful for the culture of winning and leadership that Bud helped create in Milwaukee. This is an opportunity for us to refocus and re-energize our efforts as we continue building toward our next championship season.”
The move comes a little more than a week after the Bucks’ shocking first-round exit in the NBA playoffs, with the top seed in the East falling to the No. 8 Miami Heat, 4-1. The ouster was just the fourth time in league history that a No. 1 seed was bounced by the eighth seed in the first round of the postseason.
What made Milwaukee’s exit even more damning was the manner in which it occurred, coughing up double-digit leads in the fourth quarter of the last two games in the series — and, it turns out, the last two games of Budenholzer’s tenure as head coach.
After the game-five loss that ended the season, the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo offered a frank assessment of the abbreviated playoff run, saying, “I think this has been the worst postseason ever.” It appears the franchise leadership agreed, deciding to shake up the bench before it put any more distance between itself and its recent championship run.
Budenholzer leaves Milwaukee with the best winning percentage in team history (.693) and the third-most wins (271), as well as a Coach of the Year honor for the 2018-2019 season, his first in charge.
Later in the day, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had this to say about the news:
"It's more disappointment because Bud is a fantastic coach and just won a championship and has been wildly successful in his coaching caring."— Kirsten Moran-Kellar (@kirstenlizmoran) May 4, 2023
Steve Kerr on the firing of Mike Budenholzer pic.twitter.com/Aku1YeUhrx