Knicks Rumors: Hawks HC Mike Budenholzer Candidate for NY Vacancy

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2018

Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer signals during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Sunday, April 8, 2018. The Hawks won 112-106. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The New York Knicks are reportedly planning to discuss their head coaching vacancy with Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who recently pulled his name out of consideration for the Phoenix Suns job.

Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the news, noting Budenholzer has not ruled out a return to the Hawks. Atlanta would have to give the Knicks permission to interview Budenholzer because he is under contract.

The Hawks previously granted permission for the Suns to negotiate with Budenholzer, but the deal fell apart after the two sides met Monday and Tuesday. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the two sides never got close on a contractual agreement.

The Suns have shifted their focus to other candidates like David Fizdale, Frank Vogel and interim coach Jay Triano.

Budenholzer, 48, has coached the Hawks for the last five seasons. He made the postseason in each of his first four years with the franchise but went 24-58 in 2017-18, the first season of what should be a prolonged rebuilding period.

The coach also wields less power within the organization after resigning as president of basketball operations last May. General manager Travis Schlenk has overtaken the basketball operations and was not with the organization when Budenholzer was hired. The Hawks allowing their coach to explore opportunities indicates Schlenk wouldn't be especially sad to see Budenholzer go.

The Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek earlier this month after two seasons with the franchise. They have already interviewed multiple candidates, but no favorite has emerged. Mike D'Antoni is the only Knicks coach to last three full seasons this century, and Mike Woodson is the only coach hired this century to finish his tenure with a winning record.