Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Mike Budenholzer must avoid playoff ‘thud’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks proved to live another day following their Game 3 win over the Brooklyn Nets Thursday night.

As a result, the victory quelled the discussion surrounding the future of Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer as Milwaukee got off to such a disastrous start to the series. That by no means the seat hasn’t gotten any less colder for Budenholzer, though, as speculation continues to surround his future in Milwaukee.

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On the most recent episode of ‘The Woj Pod’ hosted by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the noted newsbreaker and colleague Malika Andrews touched on Budenholzer’s future.

As they reinforced the ongoing expectation that the Bucks’ performance this postseason will heavily determine his future in Milwaukee, Woj set the guidelines surrounding the circumstances of Budenholzer’s time and future in Milwaukee:

"“(Budenholzer’s) got a year left on his deal. They could have extended him early in the season and in the offseason. They chose not to and they were really going to ride this season and while I don’t know if he has to come back and win it, but if it ends in a thud, it’s hard to imagine he’s back.”"

Mike Budenholzer is fighting for his future with the Milwaukee Bucks

The point that Woj and Andrews made and detailed is hardly anything new at this point.

Just as they spelled it out when discussing the Bucks and Bud, the guidelines were largely set last offseason as the Bucks were charting out the course for the offseason and 2020-21 campaign. By electing to move forward and bypassing extension talks, the Bucks’ front office, ownership and Budenholzer all set the tone for how this season would be treated by all parties.

The point that Wojnarowski makes about avoiding the Bucks’ potential playoff exit being a thud certainly adds another layer to the ongoing speculation as to what will or won’t be excused in weighing Bud’s future. If not for that nailbiting victory in Game 3, the Bucks would have had another exit reminiscent to their performance down in the bubble against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and it would have been a matter until both Bud and the Bucks parted ways.

That may still happen, of course, if the Bucks aren’t able to build on their Game 3 win and most importantly, click their high-powered offense back into gear. Despite being such a force throughout the regular season, the Bucks have reverted back to poor playoff habits that has continued under Budenholzer’s watch.

And the fact that Budenholzer would be going into the final year of his contract next season only raises the stakes for playoff success, given the lame duck situation that create without some security beyond the 2021-22 year.

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Whether the Bucks will have done enough to continue Budenholzer’s time in Milwaukee is wholly dependent on trying to even up this series with the Nets. For Budenholzer, taking it one game at a time means much more than that at this point.