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NBA Rumors: Mike D'Antoni, Rick Carlisle Interested in Bucks If Budenholzer Is Fired

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIJune 14, 2021

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Mike Budenholzer is on thin ice in Milwaukee, with Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reporting "there continues to be an expectation among league sources" that the third-year Bucks coach will be out if the team doesn't make it to the NBA Finals.

But if Budenholzer is on the move, the Bucks shouldn't have trouble filling the role.

Per Fischer, Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni and Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle would be interested in the potential opening in Milwaukee.

The Bucks are tied 2-2 in their Eastern Conference Semifinal with the Nets, with Game 5 set for Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. 

D'Antoni, who was at the helm of the Houston Rockets from 2016-20, is "motivated" to return to a head coaching role for the upcoming season, according to Fischer. Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Thursday that D'Antoni 'has serious interest" in the head coaching vacancy in Portland, which mutually parted ways with Terry Stotts on June 4. 

The 70-year-old is 672-527 through 16 seasons as a head coach, with experience in Denver, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles (Lakers). The West Virginia native, who also spent one season as the associate head coach in Philadelphia, is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year.  

Carlisle's Mavericks haven't won a playoff series since 2010-11, when they won the NBA Finals in Carlisle's third year at the helm in Dallas. But team governor Mark Cuban said he was sticking with the 61-year-old even after their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in seven games.

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Mark Cuban tells ESPN that he will not consider a coaching change. "Let me tell you how I look at coaching. You don't make a change to make a change. Unless you have someone that you know is much, much, much better, the grass is rarely greener on the other side." https://t.co/Rmr1411xBl

However, it appears job security isn't limiting Carlisle's desire to possibly move on. He is 555-478 through 13 seasons with Dallas. 

Even with a pair of viable external candidates, current Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee are "expected to garner strong consideration" for any opening. Both assistants have also been contacted about the opening with the Boston Celtics, according to Fischer. 

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