Add Mike Budenholzer to the Warriors’ list of finalists for their head coach vacancy.
It’s not a new name, as the San Antonio Spurs assistant coach was mentioned almost immediately after Golden State parted ways with Keith Smart. According to a team source, owner Joe Lacob is flying to San Antonio on Wednesday to interview Budenholzer. And if Lacob is going to the Alamo to interview him, Budenholzer is must be a serious candidate.
Budenholzer joins Boston assistant coach Lawrence Frank, Dallas assistant coach Dwane Casey and ESPN analyst Mark Jackson and former Houston coach Rick Adelman as confirmed finalists. Throw New Orleans assistant Mike Malone in there as well, though I haven’t heard him mentioned among the favorites.
At least three notable candidates have been taken out of the mix. Two were hired by other teams (Mike Brown and Kevin McHale). Oakland native and Lakers assistants Brian Shaw, according to a source, is out of the mix after the first round of interviews.
Another team said the likelihood is that a coach will be hired before draft though that isn’t a deadline the team has set. But this Budenholzer twist proves the Warriors still have a ways to go before they name a head coach.
Not too long ago, it appeared Budenholzer wouldn’t be a candidate. He told the San Antonio Express-News he was flattered but planned on staying in San Antonio. What changed?
Was he in the mix all along and just didn’t want to stay on the low?
Did he change is mind after Shaw got passed over (proving the expected successor isn’t guaranteed the job)?
Is this a product of the Jerry West influence? Maybe West encouraged Lacob to aggressively pursue Popovich’s understudy. Or maybe Budenholzer changed his mind once he saw West was on board.
Either way, it seems Budenholzer is a factor in this thing.