The Milwaukee Bucks find themselves in something of a transitional period after their flame out in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. They are under new majority ownership, and their coach was just controversially fired. Their MVP superstar has yet to commit to signing a long-term extension with the team.
NBA Odds: Nick Nurse The Favorite For Bucks Job
BREAKING: The Milwaukee Bucks dismissed coach Mike Budenholzer, sources tell ESPN. Budenholzer is out after the East’s top-seed suffered a first-round loss to the Miami Heat. pic.twitter.com/wQp0Zk3lxi
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 4, 2023
But if they are able to keep the foundation together and their most important pieces intact with each other, then the Bucks could still be one of the top teams in the league for the next couple of seasons. They’ll need to navigate the salary cap, of course. But perhaps most importantly, they’ll need to make a solid coaching hire.
Former head coach Mike Budenholzer was just two years removed from an NBA Championship when he got the axe after the Bucks playoff failure. He spent five years in Milwaukee, won a Coach of the Year award, and led his team to the best record in the league during the 2022-23 season. But his coaching decisions in the series against the Heat were suspect, and the team has decided to go a different direction.
Head Coaching Candidates For Milwaukee Bucks
And who might they choose? There have been odds released for the likelihood of certain candidates to land the head job with the Bucks, and there are a couple of runaway leaders.
Another recent NBA champion head coach, Nick Nurse, is available and on the open market. He had a run with the Toronto Raptors over the last five years that mirrors Budenholzers in that he won an NBA Coach of the Year award as well as the championship hardware, but his time had come. After losing in the play-in tournament, Nurse was fired by the Raptors.
He currently sits as the favorite and will be considered so until a decision is made. His number is currently coming in at +100.
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While Nurse is the better known name, Charles Lee could be the best candidate for the job. He has been an assistant coach for the Bucks for the last five years, and knows the ins and outs of the teams better than any other candidate that Milwaukee will end up interviewing.
Lee has other teams that are interested, as well. He is one of the final three candidates for the Detroit Pistons head coaching job, and is actually the favorite in those listings.
One name that pops up regularly in coaching carousel talk over the last few years is that of Kenny Atkinson. He has spent the better part of the last 15 years as an assistant around the league, save for the three and a half seasons he spent as the head of the Brooklyn Nets.
Atkinson has been with the Golden State Warriors since the start of the 2021 season.
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