Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer part ways

The Atlanta Hawks and head coach Mike Budenholzer agreed to mutually part ways but the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year may not be unemployed long amid links with the New York Knicks.

Budenholzer's departure was confirmed by the Hawks on Wednesday as speculation mounts over the 48-year-old's next move.

An assistant with the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Hawks in 2013, Budenholzer - who had two years and $14million left on his Hawks contract - is reportedly interested in the Knicks' head-coaching vacancy. 

"I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here," Budenholzer told ESPN.

"From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I'll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks."

Budenholzer interviewed with the Knicks on Sunday and would accept the job if it is offered, according to the New York Post.

Budenholzer and the Knicks talked after receiving permission from the Hawks. He also spoke with the Phoenix Suns last week about their opening, but withdrew his name from consideration.

According to reports, Budenholzer interviewed with Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry.

The Knicks are covering all their bases in looking for their next head coach. New York have interviewed at least six people (Budenholzer, David Fizdale, Mark Jackson, Kenny Smith, Jerry Stackhouse and Mike Woodson). 

Interviews with David Blatt and Spurs assistant coach James Borrego are reportedly set for this week.

Budenholzer posted a 213-197 mark in five seasons as the head coach in Atlanta, reaching the postseason four times, including 2015-16, when the Hawks made the Eastern Conference finals.

But the Hawks struggled to a 24-58 record this season, and although Budenholzer still had two years remaining on his contract, he reportedly does not want to coach a team that are facing a multi-year rebuilding process. 

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