Report: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks HC Candidate Mike Budenholzer Had Breakfast

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 23:  Head coach Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks looks on against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on March 23, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo met with former Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer on Wednesday, ESPN's Zach Lowe reported. 

The meeting comes as the Bucks are considering Budenholzer for their head-coaching vacancy. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday team ownership sat down with Budenholzer and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina, with Wojnarowski describing Budenholzer as the "front-runner."

According to Wojnarowski, the Toronto Raptors have also reached out to Budenholzer, with the two sides talking as recently as Monday.

The Bucks could gamble on a first-time head coach and hire Messina or Becky Hammon, whom they interviewed earlier this month. Given where the team is, taking that risk may not be advisable.

Milwaukee can't afford for this hire to be a failure. Antetokounmpo is under contract for three more years, which could in effect be only two more years if it becomes clear he won't sign an extension after the 2020-21 season. In a similar situation, Paul George essentially forced the Indiana Pacers' hand when he indicated he wouldn't re-sign with the team.

Keeping that in mind, the Bucks need to show signs of visible progress over the next few years. If they're unable to get out of the first or second round of the NBA playoffs, then that might not be enough to keep Antetokounmpo around.

The Hawks had the worst record in the Eastern Conference (24-58), but that wasn't entirely an indictment of Budenholzer. Having lost Al Horford and Paul Millsap to free agency in successive offseasons, the team had little choice but to go into rebuilding mode.

Three seasons ago, Budenholzer helped Atlanta win a franchise-best 60 games and reach the Eastern Conference Finals. He has a proven track record, which makes him the most sensible fit for the Bucks.

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