Hawks hire Budenholzer as new head coach

The Atlanta Hawks hired Mike Budenholzer as their new head coach Tuesday, agreeing to a multiyear contract with the longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant.

Budenholzer, 43, has been an assistant with the Spurs for the past 17 years and been with the organization under coach Gregg Popovich for 19 years overall. He has a long-term relationship with Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, who played for Budenholzer and worked with him as an executive with the Spurs.

“He has an incredible basketball acumen and has a keen awareness of the league and what it takes to be successful,” Ferry said in a statement released by the team. “His experience and four championships over the last 17 years provide a tremendous foundation for his leadership of our team.”

The Spurs allowed the Hawks to interview Budenholzer during the playoffs and then gave approval to negotiate a contract with him after they advanced to the NBA Finals with a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

The Hawks announced that Budenholzer will remain on San Antonio’s coaching staff until the conclusion of the NBA Finals.

The Hawks are in flux with their roster, as they have just three players under contract for next season and could have in excess of $40 million in salary-cap space. Atlanta is expected to chase top free agents such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul as well as their own free agents, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague.

The Hawks believe Budenholzer, who has interviewed for several jobs in recent years and also a candidate in Detroit this year, will be able to operate no matter which way the roster decisions go.

“Building a roster that has terrific potential because of the existing core and the ensuing flexibility presents a rare and uniquely positive opportunity,” Budenholzer said in a statement.

The Hawks are expected to cut ties with head coach Larry Drew, who had the job for three seasons. Drew’s contract is up June 30, and he’s reportedly having a second interview with the Milwaukee Bucks for their head-coaching job this week.

This article was originally posted on ESPN.com