Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard defended “championship coaches” like Mike Budenholzer after being surprisingly fired this past week.
There has been plenty of movement on the head coaching front thus far, but there have been some stunning names become available in free agency. One surprising move that was made this past week was the Milwaukee Bucks parting ways with head coach Mike Budenholzer following the team’s first-round elimination by the eighth-seeded Miami Heat. This was despite the fact that Budenholzer coached the Bucks to an NBA title in the 2020-21 season, their first league championship in 50 years.
It wasn’t just some fans that were left in shock about the news, also Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. On Thursday, Lillard tweeted out “folks out here firing championship coaches as soon as they don’t win the chip.”
Damian Lillard defends Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse after firings
Budenholzer is not the only championship-winning coach to get shown the door by their respective teams this year.
Nick Nurse, who led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title in the 2018-19 season, was fired after the season. The Raptors were unable to make it out of the play-in tournament to earn a playoff spot, as they lost to the 10th-place Chicago Bulls. Shortly after the elimination, the Raptors decided to part ways with Nurse, thus becoming a hot commodity in free agency.
In his five years with the Raptors, Nurse held a 227-163 record in the regular season and a 25-16 record in the playoffs.
As for Budenholzer, he spent five seasons in Milwaukee, holding a 271-120 record in the regular season and a 39-26 record in the playoffs.
It may not be long until both Budenholzer and Nurse end up with new gigs in the NBA. But as of now, they are currently free agents after five years each at their respective jobs, despite each winning a title in the previous four seasons.