Hawks rebuild already leading to questions

Former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer is the front-runner for the Bucks' opening, per multiple reports.

It will be interesting to see how new Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk and coach Mike Budenholzer coexist, Michael Cunningham wrote in a column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Hawks are a team in transition, with Schlenk taking over basketball operations following a championship season as assistant GM with the Golden State Warriors.

Last season, the Hawks’ were run by Budenholzer. So that will indeed lead to some speculation. A lot of times, GMs want to hire their own coach.

“That makes some sense because Schlenk now has the franchise-shaping power that Budenholzer once had,” Cunningham wrote. “But it also seems there’s a perception that there’s no way Budenholzer is OK with Schlenk’s rebuilding plan and that this will cause friction between the two.”

Three of the Hawks’ top four scorers from last season are gone — Paul Millsap (Denver), Dwight Howard (Charlotte) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York). And they weren’t really replaced, with point guard Dennis Schroder (17.9 ppg) the lone returning member who averaged more than 11.0 points a game last season.

So this is very clearly a rebuilding year for a franchise that won 60 games two years ago.

“Budenholzer’s job is clear: Win games and develop his young players,” Cunningham wrote. “Really, that’s always been his job. It’s just that the organizational focus has shifted more to the latter. Whether that’s what Budenholzer would rather do is beside the point because it’s what he’s being paid to do.”