Milwaukee Bucks: Initial reaction to Mike Budenholzer’s contract extension

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 22 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 22 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

After a flurry of trades, free agent signings, and draft picks were made by the Milwaukee Bucks, the dog days of the offseason rolled in.

As fans anxiously awaited the start of next season, it seemed like the only move left to make was offering head coach Mike Budenholzer a contract extension. Well, that came to fruition moments ago when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bucks and Budenholzer have agreed on a three-year extension that will keep him in Milwaukee through the 2024-25 NBA season.

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This news should not come as much of a surprise to anyone. Wojnarowski reported previously that the Bucks on Budenholzer were indeed discussing an extension, so this news is nothing groundbreaking. 

Even before Wojnarowski’s report, every fan could have predicted that this would happen sooner or later as Budenholzer just helped lead the Bucks to their second NBA title in franchise history, the first in over 50 years. Safe to say he has earned that job security after achieving that feat.

Mike Budenholzer has been far from perfect since joining the Milwaukee Bucks, but he earned this new contract extension

Some will remain skeptical of keeping Budenholzer around as the coach has his faults, which have been a massive storyline since he took the reigns before the 2018-19 season. As turbulent as it has been under Budenholzer, mostly with the fanbase showing resentment toward him before this playoff run, it seems safe to say that fans will have a different opinion of him now. Helping bring the Larry O’Brien back to Milwaukee, much can be forgiven. One has to give Budenholzer his props for holding it together when it seemed like everyone was calling for his job after last year.

After two consecutive years of playoff flameouts, Budenholzer was on the hot seat entering year three. Reports flooded in that his job was always in jeopardy if the Bucks failed to make a deep run in the postseason, and he understood the task ahead. All the pressure was mounting on him, with reports coming in during Milwaukee’s second round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets that they were already showing interest in Former Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.

Despite the entire world seemingly against him, Budenholzer managed to lead the Bucks to victory, and he did it by doing something he has scarcely done in the past, which is make the proper adjustments when needed. During Milwaukee’s first two postseason failures under Budenholzer against the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat, the biggest issue was the team’s lack of adjustments. Budenholzer simply did not make them. However, with his job on the line, the coach seemingly abandoned his old ways and embraced making adjustments as the Bucks made their way through the postseason before being crowned as world champions.

Despite the frustration that often follows, Budenholzer is still a very good coach. After all, this is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year Winner being discussed. While he has had his share of issues, the coach proved during this run that he is among the best in the business when he is making the right adjustments. His teams were consistently labeled as just regular season contenders because they failed in the postseason, but he has finally snapped that notion. Budenholzer deserves his respect for his part in the playoffs. His adjustments involving switching one-through-five (often frowned upon for Budenholzer-led teams), running more lineups with Giannis Antetokounmpo at center, and just letting his players run freely with extended minutes were all welcoming revelations that helped this team reach championship status.

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Like him or hate him, Budenholzer is now a championship-level coach, and he is not going anywhere anytime soon.