The Milwaukee Bucks have reached an agreement in principle with Mike Budenholzer to become the team’s new head coach, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Budenholzer had been linked to the Toronto Raptors’ coaching vacancy and was in the city Monday for continued discussions. The Bucks’ pursuit appeared to ratchet up in intensity from there, with Budenholzer reportedly meeting with the team again in New York this week and then meeting Giannis Antetokounmpo for what was surely a delightful breakfast, per Zach Lowe. It’s unclear how far along discussions between Budenholzer and Toronto got – Wojnarowski says Toronto never made an offer – and while it seemed like the initially reported interest in him was at least in part a leverage play with Bucks negotiations ongoing, Budenholzer was a reasonable enough candidate. If there was a pitch battle, Antetokounmpo probably went a really long way.
No other outside candidates have been linked firmly to the Raptors yet, though three in-house candidates – Nick Nurse, Rex Kalamian, and Jerry Stackhouse – all interviewed this week. With a good chunk of the league in Chicago until Saturday for the NBA Draft Combine, it’s likely the Raptors could have a number of meetings on their books. As usual, they’re not being particularly leaky about their search. This one seems like it could drag at least into next week, which makes sense given the enormity of the decision and it being Raptors president Masai Ujiri’s first ever coaching hire.