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Report: Bucks fire coach Mike Budenholzer after 1st-round NBA playoffs collapse to Heat

The Milwaukee Bucks reportedly fired coach Mike Budenholzer on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Budenholzer just finished his fifth season in Milwaukee after the top-seeded Bucks were eliminated from the postseason in a stunning first-round collapse at the hands of the No. 8-seeded Miami Heat. It was a tragic series as well for Budenholzer, whose brother died in a car crash just before Game 4.

The Bucks finished first in the Eastern Conference in three Budenholzer seasons, but that success did not always translate to the postseason. Aside from their 2020-21 NBA championship, the Bucks bowed out of the postseason in the East semifinals twice and blew a 2-0 series lead to the Toronto Raptors in the 2018-19 Eastern Conference finals.

Former Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is out after five seasons in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Former Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is out after five seasons in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

Budenholzer was 271-120 in regular-season games and 39-26 in the postseason in his five seasons. He notoriously failed to adjust schemes and was repeatedly out-coached. His disastrous decision-making against the Heat this postseason finally sealed a fate that seemingly teetered back and forth throughout his Bucks tenure, dating to the 2019 playoffs.

Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reported that Budenholzer's job security was not in question entering the 2023 postseason, as general manager Jon Horst has a close relationship with Budenholzer. However, former Bucks owner Marc Lasry "was a leading voice behind heating Budenholzer’s seat during that 2021 postseason run."

The 2021 title bought Budenholzer some goodwill, as he signed a three-year contract extension that summer.

Previously, he was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks for five seasons (230-219 overall) and an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs from 1996 to 2013. He won Coach of the Year in his first season in Milwaukee and in 2014-15 with the Hawks.