Mike Budenholzer has agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks, the team announced on Tuesday night. Budenholzer, formerly the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, joined the Bucks prior to the 2018-19 season and has led the franchise through one of the best periods in its history. Milwaukee had the best record in the NBA in his first two seasons at the helm, and last season, he helped them win their first championship in 50 years.
Had he failed to do so, it is unclear whether or not Budenholzer would still be leading the Bucks. After consecutive playoff disappointments in 2019 and 2020, many questioned Budenholzer’s acumen as a postseason coach. His slow adjustments and hesitance to play his best players extended minutes cost the Bucks against the Raptors and Heat, and headed into the 2021 postseason, Budenholzer was reportedly on the hot seat.
But an excellent run through that postseason helped him not only secure the championship but his post in Milwaukee for the long haul. The Bucks played Giannis Antetokounmpo 38.1 minutes per game in the postseason after he had previously averaged only 33 in his first two seasons under Budenholzer, and Khris Middleton made a similar jump from 34.8 to 40.1 minutes per game. His critical adjustments helped the Bucks overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Brooklyn Nets and clinch the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks despite a knee injury to Antetokounmpo.
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Now Budenholzer is under contract through the 2024-25 season. Only Antetokounmpo has a longer commitment from the Bucks, and with Middleton and Jrue Holiday also locked up for the long haul, Milwaukee has its core in place for the foreseeable future.