Bucks Fire Coach Mike Budenholzer Following First-Round Exit

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After five successful seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks are making a questionable move by moving off head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Coming off a disappointing first round against the Miami Heat, the Bucks organization looked for a problem to solve — not just finish regular seasons as a top seed in the East but advance further than Round 1.

The Milwaukee brain trust landed on Budenholzer as the issue and Milwaukee “dismissed” the coach on Thursday, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Budenholzer had a 271-120 regular-season record (.693) in five years as Bucks coach. Bud had a postseason record of 38-23 record (.603).

Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).

As only the second coach in Bucks history to deliver a championship (1971, 2021), Budenholzer appeared almost bulletproof within the organization’s ranks.

It didn’t take long for Budenholzer to appear on the hot seat shortly after the top-seeded Bucks lost to the Heat in five games.

Mike (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Optics around the loss made the 58-win team in Milwaukee, led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, seem like a Paper Tiger.

Bucks Problems Deeper Than Having The ‘Wrong’ Coach In Mike Budenholzer

Key Bucks players folded under the first-round spotlight, and Giannis missed time due to a back injury.

The team was far from playing on a firm foundation against Miami.

During the series, Budenholzer was dealing with personal issues. Before Game 4 of the series (Apr. 24), Budenholzer’s brother died in a fatal car accident. The news was not disclosed until after the series wrapped, begging the question of how much of a role the death played in Bud’s performance.

Not everyone was thrilled to hear of Budenholzer’s dismissal. Portland Trail Blazers Star Damian Lillard shaded the Bucks for cutting ties with their championship-winning coach, who will surely rise to the top of the coaching free agency list.

“Folks out here firing championship coaches as soon as they don’t win the chip …” Lillard posted Thursday afternoon.

Will Milwaukee benefit from ditching Budenholzer? Don’t bet on it, with one caveat.

Early word on Budenholzer’s replacement is buzzing around former Raptors coach Nick Nurse, who delivered Toronto their first championship in 2019. With an adept coach like Nurse, whose issues with Toronto appeared to stem from the front office, the Bucks have their best shot at duplicating their success with Budenholzer and possibly more.

Milwaukee may also lean toward promoting the HC position from within, starting with Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee.

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Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.

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