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Bucks have winners in Antetokounmpo, Budenholzer at NBA Awards

A teary Giannis Antetokounmpo accepts the NBA Most Valuable Player award during the 2019 NBA Awards in Santa Monica, Calif.Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks fell two games short of the NBA Finals, but they won big at the NBA Awards Monday night in Santa Monica, Calif.

A tearful Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Valuable Player award and Mike Budenholzer was honored with Coach of the Year.

Antetokounmpo, a 24-year-old forward from Greece, beat out the Thunder’s Paul George and the Rockets’ James Harden, who won last year.

Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds while earning All-NBA first-team honors this season, his sixth with the Bucks. He led the franchise to the best record in the regular season and the Bucks reached the Eastern Conference finals.


Tears rolled down his cheeks as Antetokounmpo thanked his mother and brothers who were in the audience at Barker Hanger. He credited his late father for pushing him toward his goals and credited his teammates and coaching staff for their help.

Budenholzer also got choked up while thanking his family after his second coaching honor. He earned the trophy for the first time with Atlanta in 2015.

He guided the Bucks to a 60-22 record in the regular season in his first year with the franchise, leading them to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to eventual NBA champion Toronto.

Budenholzer also coached Team Giannis in the All-Star Game last season.

He beat out Denver’s Mike Malone and Doc Rivers of the Clippers.

Earlier, Utah’s Rudy Gobert won Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season and Luka Doncic of the Mavericks was named Rookie of the Year. The Clippers’ Lou Williams won the Sixth Man of the Year for the second season in a row and third time overall.

Williams beat out teammate Montrezl Harrell, with whom he formed the highest-scoring bench duo in NBA history last season, and Domantas Sabonis of Indiana.


In other awards, the Wizards’ Bradley Beal received the NBA Cares Community Assist honor; Mike Conley Jr., newly traded to the Jazz, won Teammate and Sportsmanship of the Year honors; and the Raptors’ Pascal Siakam won the Most Improved Player honor.

The 25-year-old from Cameroon averaged 16.9 points and started 79 of 80 regular-season games for the Raptors in his third year with the team.

Blazers trade Turner

The Trail Blazers have traded Evan Turner to the Hawks for Kent Bazemore, a league source told ESPN. Turner, a No. 2 overall pick of the 76ers in 2010, spent the past three seasons with the Blazers. He played for the Celtics from 2014-16. Both wing players are headed into the final year of their respective four-year deals. Bazemore, 29, has been with Atlanta for five seasons, making him the longest-tenured Hawk before the trade . . . The NBA fined the Knicks $50,000 for violating media rules by not allowing the New York Daily News to cover a news conference to introduce the team’s draft picks. The Knicks have feuded with the tabloid for years over what the team feels is negative coverage, and Friday was not the first time the Daily News had been excluded from an event.