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Joe Dumars meets with Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer has emerged as a candidate for the Detroit Pistons‘ head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Pistons president Joe Dumars traveled to San Antonio on Wednesday and spent several hours meeting with Budenholzer, the top assistant to Gregg Popovich.

This is really exciting. I’m a Budenholzer fan, and even if he doesn’t get the job, it’s good he’s in the mix. The more quality candidates in the mix, the more likely the Pistons hire a good coach.

The meeting between Budenholzer and Dumars makes a lot of sense, even if the timing is a little surprising.

I’m also interested in the timing of the news breaking.

As Wojnarowski notes, this meeting occurred before the Pistons brought Phil Jackson on board. So why does it leak now? I don’t know, but completely speculating, here’s a theory: Dumars, upset with the perception he can’t run a competent coaching search, leaked it to prove he knows what he’s doing. If that’s the case, well done, Joe. Any general manager who scores a several-hour meeting with Budenholzer is doing something right.

Of course, there are a number of possibilities, such as Budenholzer or his agent leaking it to boost Budenholzer’s stock. So, don’t read too much into my speculation. Just sharing a thought that passed through my head.


  • May 3, 20138:26 pm
    by Reaction


    He is my favorite candidate for coaching the Pistons. Anyone who earns that much praise and respect from Pop should become an astounding head coach. I really really hope we get him. Hopefully Gores will pay him whatever it takes to get him to leave SA and come here.

  • May 3, 20138:37 pm
    by gmehl


    I get the feeling that if the next coach is a success then Phil Jackson will get all the credit but if he’s not then by default its gonna be Dumars fault. All I know is at least we are getting interviews with coaches that other teams (Bobcats, Cavs, Bucks) probably wont.

  • May 3, 20138:52 pm
    by Lorenzo


    I like Budenholzer but I would be surprised if he left the Spurs….even with so much interest drummed up over the years he has stayed put. I always thought he was dead set on succeeding Pop….it would be a nice surprise if I’m wrong…all the same it is good to hear that he has been interviewed. 

    • May 6, 201310:52 am
      by Huddy


      I’ve thought the same thing.  Once Timmy D is done Pop is probably on the way out, so Budenholzer may be reasonably close to taking over in SA.

  • May 3, 20139:53 pm
    by Vince


    Budenholzer has been on the top of my list for a while, I never actually thought the Pistons would secure an interview with him though. This is great news!

  • May 3, 201310:10 pm
    by Travis


    Where are all the Dumars haters now? :) 

    • May 3, 201310:58 pm
      by HorsePower


      Until Budenholzer is announced as head coach, Dumars has done jack…………

  • May 3, 201310:34 pm
    by robertbayer


    Dan .. I agree that the Spurs assistant is certain a good candidate .. and would welcome him as solid hire for coaching the Pistons .. Also .. Joe D has to be feeling abused by the fact that Phil Jackson, maybe Piston Enemy Number 1 from the Bulls and Lakers championship eras,  is lording over him courtesy of Mr. Gores. Is the fact that PJ is around a sign that Joe D is on the way out? Will PJ help or harm the Pistons search for the best head coach. I honestly do not know but it is NOT a good thing for Joe D.

  • May 3, 201311:05 pm


    Brain Shaw is feels pick…

    Not a Nate Mcmillian face

    • May 4, 20131:14 am
      by Jacob


      Time to change your name? maybe

    • May 4, 20135:21 am
      by oats


      @ I HATE FRANK. Was that English? I recognize the words, but the way they are arranged doesn’t seem to have any meaning that I can discern with any certainty. “Brian Shaw is feels pick” would work if feels was changed to Phil’s. That would make sense, but I’m still baffled by feels being in there since he seems aware of the way to write the other names. “Not a Nate McMillan face” means absolutely nothing to me. Does it mean Nate McMillan will be unhappy? If so, how? Have you ever heard a rock song and really paid attention to the lyrics only to find out they are completely nonsensical? That’s what that comment is like to me.

      • May 4, 20137:26 am
        by I HATE FRANK


        LOL@ OATS
        I was typing, talking to my girl, and was dozing off… When I read it just now I was like “What The Hell”
        I meant “Brian Shaw” will be Phils pick
        And I’m not a Nate McMillian Fan…


        • May 4, 201310:03 am
          by tarsier



        • May 6, 20138:29 am
          by G


          You should change your name to NOT A MCMILLAN FACE or BRIAN SHAW IS FEELS PICK.

  • May 4, 20133:15 am
    by Tom Y.


    I don’t know if he actually wants the job, but if he does, he should definitely be one of the leading candidates. With him and Obradovic, there are two candidates who would competently run a system that’s a lot like Pop’s in San Antonio. That’s a pretty nice prospect. 

  • May 4, 20135:23 am
    by Tiko


    I’m cool with Shaw or this guy

  • May 4, 20137:32 am
    by Domnick


    i am excited that we are doing things right…
    i dont really feel bad for Gores reaching out Phil Jackson.. after all why not?
    if it is possible that everyone, gores, dumars, and jackson completes the coaching hire  then..we should proceed with the players that can help our team… i believe we need to improve our roster not just the head coach..

  • May 4, 20139:27 am
    by Corey


    Question about Brian Shaw: would he want to run the triangle offense? which piston players would that be good for? Monroe probably- good opportunities for his passing skills. BK? It might be the only offense where he could play PG and do well. The job is to play D, bring it over the timeline, and shoot 3′s. behind can do those things. not sure how it would work with Drummond. Any thoughts?  We would surely need a much better ball handler at one of the wing positions.


    • May 6, 20139:44 am
      by Jeremy


      The triangle offense doesn’t rely solely on 3 point shooters and the feature wings in the offense really haven’t been the greatest 3 point specialists (Kobe is a career .336 and Jordan was a career .327 three point chucker). The main idea is that any point in time there are 2 options at which the ball can be distributed to. After the initial pass there are two more options, and then two more options, etc., etc. At any point in time there are 3 options that can be made: Player A can pass to Player B or Player C or Player A can shoot the ball. If the ball is passed to Player B, Player B can pass to Player C or Player D or Player B can shoot the ball. The offense requires floor spacing so that the immense amount of movement that is required to continue setting up triangles can be provided (think Rip type movement when LB used to run the double back screens for him, but across 3, 4 guys on the floor). The offense requires guys who are good passers and who can hit a jump shot at any point in time. Sport Science estimated that in a 5 second duration there are 340+ opportunities to shoot the ball in the triangle offense. The job has always been to play defense – that doesn’t change based on the offense you’re running. 
      So what players on the current roster would fit under the triangle? Well, if Jose Calderon is resigned he becomes the initial ball handler, he is a great passer, and is a threat to shoot from anywhere on the floor. BK7 needs to work on his passing but he is also a threat to shoot anywhere on the floor, is probably the first wing read, and thus far is a better 3 shooter than both MJ and Kobe (BK7 is a career .373 from beyond the arc and his first two seasons from out there are comparable to Kobe and way better than MJ’s)***. Singler is also a threat to hit from anywhere on the court and is a smart ball player. Monroe has displayed at times that he can hit the jumper but still needs some work to become proficient at it and he was billed as being a great passing big when he came in to the league. Middleton could fit well under the offense as well. If anyone from what would be expected to be the starting 5 as of today is hurt by the triangle it is Drummond. Other guys that may be hurt by the triangle are those that don’t move well in the half court offense: Jonas, Charlie V, and Rodney. They usually camp out beyond the arc when the game slows down and do little to move without the ball. 
      As a side note I always thought that Monroe would have fit well under Rick Adelman’s offense. He would have fit in well on those Sacramento teams that featured CWebb and Vlade Divac.
      ***DISCLAIMER: I am not, by any means, making claims that BK7 is ever going to be on Kobe or MJ’s level as a player. I was just stating that when looking at the statistics, his 3 point shooting is comparable, if not better, than those 2 guys. Once again, that is just when looking at a number on a computer screen. It is not comparing situational 3 point shooting and who made or missed a shot when the game was on the line.

      • May 6, 201311:55 am
        by G


        Here’s a couple points about Kobe & Jordan’s fit in the triangle re: 3-point shooting:
        1) Jordan didn’t play under Phil until the ’89-’90 season, so excluding seasons where MJ had a different coach, his 3PT% in the triangle was .359
        2) Jordan didn’t shoot a ton of threes (very few did in those days), but he had a pretty good 3PT% in seasons when he had 200+ 3PTA
        3) The triangle was adapted for Shaq (as was Kobe) during Phil’s first run with the Lakers. In Phil’s 2nd run, Kobe took about 200 more 3′s per season and shot .344. Not great, but above league average in those years.

  • May 4, 201310:42 am
    by Wolverines23


    Finally some good positive news the last few days. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the Phil Jackson consultancy role! In fact it makes the situation more competitive between Joe Dumars and Phil who reportedly will be working together during this process.
    I’d say –
    1. Mike Budenholzer
    2. Brian Shaw
    3. Nate McMillian

  • May 4, 201312:46 pm
    by Scott Free


    Ive been mixing up Brian Shaw with Brian Hill in my head and I was flabbergasted by this board!

  • May 4, 20131:58 pm


    We have to give Joe and Gore of props, I love the steps they are taking. Taking on Phil might seem corny and cliche, but at least they are thinking outside the box. I will feel much better about whoever we select based off of the fact we are doing our part to find the best coach avaialble

  • May 4, 201311:07 pm
    by Geoff


    I really like how Phil always knew to select teams that were already primed for championships, and not bother actually trying to help build teams (say like Doug Collins or Larry Brown).  I’m not sure his professional approach works for the Pistons since last time I looked we don’t have a Kobe or a Jordan.  I concide that Phil is a good coach, though. 

    Since the team is still acquiring pieces to be a real contender, it would probably have been smart to let Frank coach his last guaranteed year on his contract.  For a man that many say has savy business sense, I’ve yet to see Gores do or say anything smart.  Whoever they end up hiring, they better make sure they can commit to 4 years. 

    • May 5, 20135:34 am
      by mike


      hmm… so keeping Frank, a complete failure, would’ve been the smart move?

      And getting Phil Jackson to be a consultant to your franchise for free isn’t savvy?

      I can’t agree with you 

      • May 5, 20133:36 pm
        by Geoff


        Complete failure?  Frank ran intelligent lineups and seemed (to me) to have the attention and respect of the players.  He was no bumbling fool like Kuester.  I give Frank a pass on his record, because his record is about what I thought it should be given the youth of the team.  Unlike our brash owner, I never thought this roster would be heading for anything other than the lottery.  Success to me was developing the younger players, which Frank did.  I agree with his approach for Drummond, Singler, and Knight.  So, yeah, Frank was worth honoring his contract for another year.  Championship teams are built piece by piece, and I can say at this point in time that I am confident in Dumars decisions.  I’m also happy with his handling of the team budget.  Phil’s inclusion in the coaching hire bothers me less than Gores willingness to undermine progress with his “results NOW” attitude.  Seen it before and it doesn’t work.  So, again, with Phil’s sage advice I hope Dumars finds our new coach for the next 4 years.  My vote is for Jerry Sloan or Doug Collins. 

        • May 6, 20131:44 am
          by oats


          Frank didn’t use intelligent lineups. He was constantly juggling his rotation. Part of that is that the roster didn’t give him a lot to work with, but if his lineups were that intelligent he woudn’t have been so desperate to find something that works. His inability to give the players a consistent role or consistent minutes was problematic.
          Frank definitely doesn’t pass the player development test either. Knight’s offense stagnated. Knight’s defense did improve, but he still didn’t make enough progress as a player for that to count in Frank’s favor. Monroe might be a better player in actuality, but he played worse this year than last and clearly wasn’t progressing as fast as should have been expected. Singler was used well, but Middleton seems to have been buried too long. Middleton also appears to have a higher ceiling than Singler so that cancels out the Singler thingl. The biggest problem is related to Drummond and Monroe. Even if Drummond needed to come on slow, there is no good excuse for them not to play together more. Developing them as a pair is by far the most important thing for this team’s future, and this year was mostly wasted on that front. On top of that, Monroe needed more practice defending power forwards. The team could have put Max on centers to give Monroe a chance to work on his defense at that position, but that pretty much never happened. The failure to work on how Monroe will play with Drummond keeps this year from being successful on a player development basis all on its own.
          I didn’t hate the idea of letting Frank get a 3rd year. Still, his profile hasn’t exactly earned that 3rd year. Then Frank said he needed the 4th year on his contract fully guaranteed in order to come back. That sealed it because he clearly had no business getting that 4th year based off what he’s done so far. That demand made sense from Frank’s perspective, he didn’t want to be a lame duck coach. From the team’s perspective it also meant he was gone.

    • May 5, 20135:49 am
      by mike


      I can agree that Phil chooses his spots wisely, and doesn’t get involved anywhere unless he sees potential for enormous success. Which is what makes this deal with the Pistons so intriguing. Does he possibly see Drummond as the next Shaq, and thinks he could build a dynasty around him?

  • May 5, 20135:30 am
    by mike


    I trust us getting this right this time with Phil on board, whoever we choose. But I think this Budenholzer guy is getting a little overhyped/overrated.

    He’s been with the Spurs for 16 yrs, but only recently became a top assistant. He wasn’t the lead assistant in the championship years. That was Carlisimo.

    For all we know he could be the “John Kuester” of Popovich’s coaching staff. Kuester was a long time assistant under Larry Brown, but was never really the lead assistant iirc. In 2004, Woodson was the main guy, not Kuester.

    Guys like that who spend a long time as assistants before getting a HC job worry me.

    He could be the next Thibodeau, but also could be the next Kuester.

    And for all the ppl who say just hire someone from SA and you’ll get it right, where’s the long list of successful assistants under Popovich who have become great HCs?

    There really isn’t even one to name. So idk where that myth came from, but its kind of foolish it just assume this guy is going to be good.

    • May 5, 20131:55 pm
      by Reaction


      Recently? He has been the top assistant for over the last 5 years. Not to mention the amount of praise Pop has given him is ridiculous. Pop even went so far as to say he knows the offense better than Pop himself does. That is an insane amount of praise. I trust Pop as he has helped the Spurs become a dynasty. No one can deny the coaching greatness of Pop and if he says something I’ll believe it.

    • May 5, 20131:59 pm
      by Reaction


      Mike Brown, George Karl, Tom Thibodeau.. the list goes on

      • May 6, 20131:22 am
        by Reaction


        These were all Pop’s assistants. So your ” there really isn’t even one to name” statement is completely false.

      • May 6, 20132:35 am
        by oats


        He’s been with the Spurs for a long time, but he also really spent his time moving up the ladder. Before those 16 years he was also a video scout for them. He moved up to a coaching job after only 2 years, and it should be noted he only played one year of pro ball. He was really young when he got that coaching gig. He only had 5 years of experience as a coach and was only 30 when Carlesimo was hired. Given that Carlesimo had already been a head coach, that’s hardly an indictment of Budenholzer. Soon as Carlesimo left Budenholzer took over the lead assistant job.
        On to the long term assistant thing. The main difference between Budenholzer and the other guys is age. Budenholzer is 41. For example, Kuester took over the Pistons at 54. Can you maybe see how the amount of time spent as an assistant might say something different about Budenholzer than Kuester? For Kuester it suggests he might not have what it takes to handle a head coaching job. For Budenholzer it just means he got his first NBA coaching gig at a crazy young age.
        Budenholzer might not have been the lead assistant for the championship teams, but he has 5 years as the lead assistant under Popovich. What Popovich has done these past 5 years has been really impressive. Pop has been ahead of the curve on all kinds of things. Pop’s one of the first to really get the value of the corner 3, Pop adopted the attacking help defenses at around the same time Rivers and Thibodeaux were proving it’s value, and Pop is still ahead of the curve on figuring out how to limit the wear and tear on his best players. Pop has fielded top notch offensive and defensive teams while playing slow paced, fast paced, and at an average pace. Pop also has shown a knack for taking middling talents and turning them in to productive role players. 5 years as the lead assistant under a coach who can do all that is a pretty darn strong resume. What’s more, Pop has missed some games during that 5 year stretch and Budenholzer replaced him pretty darn well during those games. I get that he’s just implementing Pop’s game plans, but being able to implement Pop’s game plans is a really good sign for him as a coaching candidate.
        I will agree on one thing, Budenholzer is not a guarantee to succeed. That said, there is no guarantee any coach will succeed. Larry Brown couldn’t turn around the Bobcats for instance. I get if there are other candidates you prefer. That’s totally understandable. My favorite candidate is Budenholzer though. He has 16 years with a basketball genius including 5 as his top assistant. That’s a lot of time for things to rub off on him. I also absolutely love Popovich’s schemes, and if there was one team that I’d want Detroit to play like I’d choose San Antonio.

        • May 6, 20139:21 am
          by Crispus


          So you want us to be good… but boring.

          • May 6, 201311:12 am
            by G

            The Spurs aren’t boring because of their style of play, they’re boring because their superstar is Duncan, who’s pretty vanilla. Also, the 2004 & 2005 Pistons were considered pretty boring…

          • May 6, 201312:22 pm
            by Crispus

            I think the Spurs are boring because Popovich has drained their egos to the point where they are an unselfish, intelligent team, but also have no sense of style – they don’t care at all about looking cool while winning. So drawing fouls, making layups, taking charges, not maintaining rivalries or feuds, these are all things the Spurs do well to win, but the result is something like watching office workers finish a project under budget. I saw a clip where Manu Ginobili took a game-winning charge on Carmelo Anthony. It was a brilliant move, but also somehow deeply repugnant to me. 

            Yes those Pistons weren’t that thrilling, but much of that was based on the fact that they did not have a marketable superstar. The Carlisle pistons were even less exciting, remember that playoff game against Boston where the final score was 66-64?

          • May 6, 201312:39 pm
            by G

            Manu’s been doing that stuff his whole career (flopping or taking charges, however you interpret it). Any team that wins championships adopts that mentality. Are you familiar with the secret from The Book of Basketball? Check any championship team.

          • May 6, 20131:06 pm
            by Crispus

            The Miami Heat sure didn’t mind looking like they had fun last year. I’m sure they did the little subtle things, but they also did the big, fun-to-watch things like high-flying alley-oops and impossible contested shots.

            I guess what bothers me about the Spurs (and the New England Patriots) is that their extreme competence gives rise to a certain joylessness. In making high-level performance look so self-evident and sober, the sense that the things they are doing are extraordinary – is lost. 

          • May 6, 20131:09 pm
            by G

            The Spurs were always boring, by the way. This has to do with their star, not the coach. Robinson was a great player, kind of boring. Same with Duncan. It’s not Pop’s fault that his best guy is on the bland side.

          • May 6, 20131:11 pm
            by G

            Again, Miami wasn’t boring because of LeBron & Wade, not because of their coach. Duncan has a boring game. He defends well, shoots a wicked bank shot & is pretty good from mid-range too. That’s a pretty boring repertoire. 

          • May 6, 20134:14 pm
            by Crispus

            Pop’s influence extends into the personnel and team culture. The Spurs are, like him, very inscrutable and unexcitable. They punch in, play well, don’t say more than they have to, then leave. Granted nobody wants a team full of flashy arrogant clowns (well, NY and LA maybe), but other teams do more to get their fans going and provide something for the the highlight reel. So what I’m saying is you blame Duncan, but I think Pop and the Spurs GM have been seeking guys who resemble Duncan’s comportment – steady, level-headed, professional guys. Pop has more influence on his team than almost any other coach, given his long tenure and continued success. 

          • May 6, 20134:24 pm
            by G

            Yeah, Stephen Jackson, T-Mac, Van Exel…

          • May 6, 20134:43 pm
            by oats

            If the argument is that Pop protege’s are boring, and that what makes the team boring extends to personnel moves, the logical conclusion is that other team’s with GMs taken from the Spurs system should also build boring teams. Sam Presti built the Thunder, and he’s a former San Antonio front office guy. Just because the Spurs are boring doesn’t mean anyone who worked for them will try to be boring too.
            More than that, if it calls for the team to be good but boring, then I’m ok with that. The reason is simple, if my favorite team is good I will be entertained. Most people considered either of the eras when the Pistons won championships to be boring teams, and I really disagree. Then again, I also find the Spurs highly entertaining to watch and I’m not a Spurs fan. I find well played basketball entertaining. I should also note that I really don’t think anyone could make Drummond boring. Guys with that kind of athletic ability and energy always turn out to be exciting. I just don’t think there is any way I’ll complain about the team being good.

    • May 6, 20138:32 am
      by G


      Budenholzer has also had more opportunities to do some substitute coaching with Pop missing time because he was sick.

  • May 5, 20138:47 am
    by ryan


    What I want is a coach who can build a culture that maximizes player’s potential and emphasizes defense much like they’ve done in San Antonio. I love the way they turn second round picks into competent contributors and sometimes starters. If Mike Budenholzer can do that then I don’t care if we have to commit murder to get him.

  • May 5, 201310:52 am
    by bob


    Feldman also liked Frank as a coach so there is that

  • May 5, 201310:59 am
    by Ryank


    I think it’s going to be between Brian Shaw and Mike Budenholzer at this point.  Joe D will want Mike Budenholzer, Gores will want Shaw.  In other words, it’s up to Gores…does he trust Phil or Joe D more to make this decision? 
    McMillian will get a better offer elsewhere and I’m not convinced he’s the right coach for this situation anyways. 

  • May 5, 201312:12 pm
    by Jacob


    Joe D I gonna get fired and phil will be our gm

  • May 5, 20131:43 pm
    by Mark


    Now that the Nets are looking for a new coach, I bet McMillan linter views and chooses that job.  They have more vets and need to find someone who can maximize their potential.. We are going to end up with Shaw. 

  • May 5, 20133:15 pm
    by frankie d


    Has a phil jackson assstant coach ever gone on to have success as a head coach?  
    Idk the answer and simply pose it to find the correct answer. 

    • May 5, 201311:59 pm
      by Lorenzo


      I can’t recall anyone even being close to successful. The names that I could come up with….Jim Cleamons, Frank Hamblen, John Bach (had a solid college career before joining Phil’s staff), John Paxon, Bill Cartwright, Kurt Rambis…..hardly a collection of coaching success. Unless I’m missing someone from his CBA or Puerto Rico days I don’t think any of his assistants have garnered much success….perhaps Shaw can change that trend, who knows. 

  • May 7, 201310:26 am
    by LT


    draft dreams?

  • May 8, 20131:16 am
    by T Casey


    I like the names being thrown into the mix for head coach. Hopefully we don’t whiff inexplicably like we did when we got Frank. I think with a real quality coach, and another successful draft (fingers crossed), our team will surprise a lot of people.

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