The Milwaukee Bucks are going in a different direction at head coach after they reportedly fired Mike Budenholzer following the team’s upset loss in the first round of the playoffs to the Miami Heat.
The Bucks had the best record in the NBA this season at 58-24, yet the Milwaukee front office believed it was time for a fresh mind leading the team after it took the eighth-seeded Heat just five games to defeat them.
Jimmy Butler scored 98 points in the final two games of the series, including an off-balance inbound bucket that sent Game 5 to overtime. Miami eventually won, 128-126.
The move by the Bucks is especially shocking considering Budenholzer was at the helm when Milwaukee won it all in 2021, its first NBA championship since 1971.
Budenholzer revealed to The Athletic he had lost one of his three brothers prior to Game 4 of the series. He died from injuries in a car accident.
Budenholzer didn’t discuss his brother’s death during the series, but Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, who was an assistant under Budenholzer for four seasons in Milwaukee, told reporters last week what Budenholzer was going through.
“Coach Bud is going through a lot on a personal level,” Ham said. “He just lost a brother. So, my apologies, Bud, if I wasn’t supposed to let anybody know. He and I have been texting. I love those guys.”
Budenholzer spent the past five seasons leading the Bucks to an overall record of 271-120 (.693) in 391 games. His title in 2021 was the first of his career.
Budenholzer has five prior years of head coaching experience with the Atlanta Hawks, where he spent five seasons from 2013-2018 before moving on to Milwaukee.
A coach with loads of experience in the NBA, Budenholzer should be a hot commodity this offseason for teams in the market for a new head coach.