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The Phoenix Suns Are Paying Two Head Coaches Next Year — And Mike Budenholzer Is Making Money From Two Teams

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The Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks didn’t have much of a shared history before the 2021 postseason. Sure, the teams played against each other every year, but there wasn’t really a rivalry or any bad blood between them. Then they met in the NBA Finals, which the Bucks won in six games after dropping the first two contests of the series.

Well, the Suns and Bucks now have something else in common: They’re both paying head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Budenholzer and the Suns agreed to a five-year deal worth a reported $50 million. Under those terms, Budenholzer will earn $10 million per season, which makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the league. The hiring comes the same week as the firing of previous head coach Frank Vogel.

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Now, the Suns owe Vogel the remaining $24 million or so on his deal, as well as the $50 million for Budenholzer. Unless there’s an unreported clause in Vogel’s contract, Phoenix will pay about $16 million combined to both head coaches for the next four seasons, for a grand total of $64 million.

Vogel served as the Suns’ head coach for just one season. Despite a 49-33 record and a playoff appearance, new Suns owner Mat Ishbia wanted to make a change. He got the best head coach who isn’t already tied to a team.

Budenholzer, 54, won NBA Coach of the Year during the 2014-15 and 2018-19 seasons. He has previously been head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and the Bucks. His total record as a head coach is 484-317 across ten seasons. Before that, he served as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs for over a decade and a half.

Despite the 2021 championship, the Bucks fired Budenholzer after the 2022-23 season. The Bucks finished first in the Eastern Conference but lost in the first round to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat. Budenholzer still had $16 million and two years remaining on his deal, and the Bucks owed him all of that. He made $8 million this season and is due another $8 million next year. After the brief tenure of Adrian Griffin ended midseason and Doc Rivers replaced Griffin, the Bucks are currently paying three head coaches.

It’s possible Budenholzer’s buyout was negated after he signed with another team. However, with the way some of these contracts are worded, he very well may be making $18 million next year as both the Suns and Bucks pay guys not to coach for them.





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