PHOENIX SUNS

Mike Budenholzer named Phoenix Suns head coach

May 11, 2024, 9:09 AM

Former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer was officially named Phoenix Suns head coach on ...

Former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer was officially named Phoenix Suns head coach on Saturday. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was named the new head coach of the Phoenix Suns, the team announced Saturday.

“We’re excited to name Mike as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns and bring him back to his home state of Arizona,” Suns owner Mat Ishbia said in a statement. “Mike has proven himself to be among the most successful head coaches in the NBA. He is the right leader to take us to the next level and reach our championship goals.”

Budenholzer’s deal is worth $50-plus million over five years, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Friday evening.

The reported deal would make Budenholzer the fifth-highest paid coach by average annual value, as five head coaches are set to make eight figures next season — although there are more hires coming, such as for the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Mike’s exceptional basketball acumen, championship pedigree and his standing as one of the NBA’s premier coaches will be invaluable as we compete for a championship,” said president of basketball operations and general manager James Jones. “We’re confident that under his leadership our team will reach new levels of success.”

Budenholzer will be the third head coach to work for Suns owner Mat Ishbia after the latter officially took control of the team in February 2023. Phoenix has had seven head coaches since 2015-16, Devin Booker’s rookie campaign.

Budenholzer is an Arizona native. He grew up in Holbrook in northern Arizona, where his father Vince won 10 regional titles and one state championship as a high school basketball coach. Vince is in the Arizona High School Athletics Coaches Hall of Fame.

“I am honored to be named head coach of the Phoenix Suns, the team I grew up watching. I would like to thank Mat Ishbia, Josh Bartelstein and James Jones for the opportunity to lead this team,” Budenholzer said. “I’m grateful to have a talented roster of players who are ready to compete and play a style of basketball that will bring out the best in all of them, and bring them together as we compete for championships.”

He spent five years as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and another five with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he won an NBA championship over the Suns in 2021. He earned NBA Coach of the Year honors once with each team.

Budenholzer replaces Frank Vogel, who was dismissed from the team after one season.

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