May 15, 2018 / 8:29 PM / 10 months ago

Report: Budenholzer, Messina finalists for Bucks job

Nov 10, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer yells at referee Josh Tiven (not pictured) during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks ownership is meeting with two finalists, Mike Budenholzer and Ettore Messina, on Tuesday in their search for the team’s next head coach, according to an ESPN report.

Budenholzer reportedly remains the front-runner for the job, but he is also still in talks with the Toronto Raptors, who dismissed Dwane Casey last week after seven years with the team. However, Messina “has gathered significant momentum” during the interview process.

Budenholzer, 48, was the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year but was released from his contract with the Atlanta Hawks at the end of this regular season to pursue other opportunities.

Messina, 58, has served as a San Antonio Spurs assistant since 2014 after a successful career coaching international basketball, including the Italian national team. He is one of three current Spurs staff members — along with assistant Becky Hammon and vice president of basketball operations Monty Williams — to draw interest from the Bucks for the job.

Budenholzer hasn’t been in San Antonio since 2013, but he previously spent 17 years as a Spurs assistant. He met with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks about their openings earlier this offseason, though he pulled his name out of discussion for the Suns job.

Milwaukee parted with Jason Kidd in January and assistant coach Joe Prunty served the rest of the season as interim head coach, with general manager Jon Horst telling reporters after the season that Prunty would be a candidate to keep the job full-time.

—Field Level Media

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