Mike Budenholzer reportedly one of three finalists for Brooklyn Nets coaching job


Mike Budenhozer, who coached the Milwaukee Bucks to the title in 2021 and has built winners at a couple of stops, is one of three finalists for the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.

Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez and Phoenix Suns associate head coach Kevin Young are the other finalists, according to the report. There is some buzz the list is actually bigger than those three names, but those are the ones we know.

Nets general manager Sean Marks will make the call on the new coach in partnership with owner Joe Tsai, meaning Marks will be back next season despite rumors earlier this season his seat was getting hot, reports Brian Lewis at the New York Post.

That is where the Budenholzer connection comes in — both Marks and Budenhozer are out of the Gregg Popovich/San Antonio coaching and front office tree. Budenholzer is also a proven team builder — he built a 60-win team in Atlanta and was Coach of the Year in 2015, then solidified things around Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee and gave the team an identity that led it to the 2021 title. The knocks on Coach Bud — that he can be stubborn and slow to adjust in the playoffs, which is why the team fired him after losing to Miami in the first round last year — are the kind of problems the Nets wish they had.

Budenholzer has the potential to do for the Nets what Tom Thibodeau has done for the Knicks on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge — give the team an identity and raise its floor. Budenholzer also makes sense as an established coach if the Nets truly believe they trade for or attract top talent to play with Mikal Bridges and Nic Claxton. Right now, while maybe the talent on the Nets roster could be better maximized, it’s not threatening any teams at the top of the East. Marks has work to do.

Fernandez — who also has been linked to the Charlotte coaching vacancy — will be busy this summer as the head coach of a stacked Canadian National Team headed to the Paris Olympics (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, maybe Jamal Murray, Dillon Brooks, RJ Barrett and more). Fernandez was a top assistant to Michael Malone in Denver staff but left to become the associate head coach in Sacramento under Mike Brown. He’s got a couple of years of G-League head coaching experience with the Canton Charge.

Young is a coach a lot of front office executives around the league think he deserves a shot in the big chair somewhere. He has been a Suns assistant for years and was one of the finalists for the Suns job when Phoenix brought in Frank Vogel — Vogel wanted to keep the highly respected and well-liked Young on his staff and reportedly made him the highest-paid assistant in the league. He has head coaching experience at the G-League level.

The new coach will replace Jacque Vaughn, who was fired in February. Kevin Ollie was the interim coach and considered for the job full-time, but apparently is not considered a finalist.



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