Recently, basketball insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported on his podcast that an unnamed owner of a tanking NBA team scolded the team’s head coach for winning a road game that seemingly hurt the team’s chances in the NBA draft lottery.
Per Wojnarowski: “I know of an instance of an owner berating, really berating his coach here in the last several weeks of the season for going in and beating a pretty good team on the road, going, ‘What are you doing?'”
Given that the Hawks won two road games late in the season (in Washington and in Boston), and the fact that head coach Mike Budenholzer is exploring options with other teams like the Suns, many fans have assumed that it was Hawks’ owner Tony Ressler who yelled at Budenholzer.
If true, this news wouldn’t necessarily be shocking; Budenholzer has primarily experienced success in his NBA tenure with San Antonio and his first four years in Atlanta, so tanking would likely likely not be an easy thing for him to handle. Ressler has always expressed interest in doing what is best for the team and has invested heavily in development of young players, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to argue with Bud over “messing up” the tank.
Perhaps we will never know if this argument did in fact take place between Ressler and Budenholzer. However, if Budenholzer ends up leaving for another franchise, we certainly have identified a possible reason why.