Hawks’ Budenholzer will relinquish president job in changes


Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer will no longer serve as the team’s president of basketball operations, according to several people familiar with the organization’s forthcoming front-office changes.

Budenholzer will remain coach, and general manager Wes Wilcox will remain with the organization in a different capacity for the foreseeable future.

Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler will hire a new executive to oversee basketball operations, with both Budenholzer and Wilcox reporting to that person, the people familiar with the situation said.

Budenholzer will retain a significant voice in player-personnel decisions.

The changes are expected to be announced by the Hawks as soon as Friday.

The team acknowledged in a statement Wednesday: “Hawks leadership is undergoing a period of evaluation and looking at how basketball operations works best.”

A meeting was held late Wednesday with Ressler to discuss a number of restructuring options.

Budenholzer, the Hawks’ coach for the past four seasons, has held the title of president of basketball operations for the past two, during which Wilcox reported to him.

ESPN reported Wednesday that the team had parted ways with Wilcox, but the Hawks denied that report, and Wilcox remains employed by the team.

Wilcox has been in contact with other NBA teams and at least one college about other positions recently, according to several people with knowledge of his plans.

The developments come less than two weeks after Ressler told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had confidence in the current positions held by Budenholzer and Wilcox despite the organization’s regression in regular-season record and playoff advancement.

“I don’t think so,” Ressler said then, upon being asked if he planned to make changes to the current management structure. “I love Bud and Wes. I love the intellect, the competence and the commitment to win of both Bud and Wes. … This is the NBA and I’m trying to be as thoughtful about this as possible. I want to win very badly. I want to win a championship very badly. … I think Bud and Wes can actually do what I’m looking to do, can achieve the greatness I’m looking to achieve at this franchise.”

The Hawks essentially will combine two layers of basketball operations management into one. It is not known what title the new executive overseeing basketball operations will have.

Ressler said last month that he makes all the final decisions and added that of several voices he listens to, Budenholzer’s is the loudest.

“To me, the loudest voice has been earned by his 20-plus years of experience in the NBA,” Ressler said of Budenholzer. “At Ares Management, I think I have the loudest voice and if you think I have the final decision on a business that manages $100 billion of assets for institutional investors, you couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t have the final decision on anything. But please hear me, the way we are trying to manage the Atlanta Hawks is I have Bud, I have Wes and they do look at the world differently, which I love.”

Wilcox is in his second season as general manager and fifth with the team after serving as assistant general manager. Wilcox has been in the NBA for 15 years, including director of player personnel with the Cavaliers. Budenholzer spent his first two seasons as head coach before assuming the added management responsibilities. Both Budenholzer and Wilcox were promoted when Ressler and his group purchased the franchise.

The restructuring comes with the NBA draft looming in June.

Staff writer Tim Tucker contributed to this article.



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