Suns

NBA Swing: Suns Fire Vogel and Replace Him with Budenholzer

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On Thursday afternoon, the Phoenix Suns fired head coach Frank Vogel after being swept in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Vogel led the Suns to a 49-33 record in the regular season but would be let go after only one season. With Phoenix in a very questionable spot as they have almost no picks for the next handful of years, their big three take up the majority of the team’s salary cap, and Bradley Beal has a no-trade clause. It was expected that a move would be made following the team’s first-round exit. 

 

While new owner Mat Ishbia said the team was in a “great position” last week, it is possible that another big move could be on the horizon this offseason. As the Suns look towards next season, the hunt for a new head coach immediately began. With associate head coach Kevin Young being hired by BYU in April and several coaches available and potentially coming available, reports just hours after the firing suggested the team was interested in former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Bud would become the Suns’ new head coach on Friday morning, reportedly signing a contract for five years worth over $50 million. At the same time, it was reported that assistant coach David Fizdale would be moving into a front-office role.

 

From 1996-2023, Budenholzer has had a coaching role in the NBA. Bud spent his 17 seasons in the league as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, one of many assistant coaches turned coaches from the legendary Gregg Popovich coaching tree. In his two previous head coaching roles, Budenholzer would win a Coach of the Year award in the 2014-15 season and 2018-19 season. From the 2013-14 season to the 2018-19 season, Bud would coach the Atlanta Hawks, leading them to a 213-197 regular season record, three winning seasons, and four trips to the playoffs, one of those being to the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Bud would see much more success as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. In his five seasons coaching the Bucks, Bud led the team to a 271-120 regular season record while leading them to the playoffs in each of his five seasons. Bud would lead the Bucks to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances, one of those leading to a championship in 2021. Having coached a superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bud should have no problem coaching the superstar trio of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal. Of the coaches available, Bud was the best choice for the Phoenix Suns.

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