We knew it was going to take a while for the Milwaukee Bucks to settle on their next head coach. General manager Jon Horst set the clear expectation that they were going to follow a thorough process, speak with a number of candidates, and ultimately make (what they think) is the right choice for the franchise.
In the meantime, we get to squabble over each candidate who happens to be mentioned in association with the job opening! Hooray for the endless content machine! Today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski follows up the previous report about James Borrego, Kenny Atkinson, and Charles Lee interviewing with another name for the list: Scott Brooks!
ESPN Sources: The Milwaukee Bucks have secured permission to interview to Portland Trail Blazers assistant Scott Brooks for franchise’s head coaching job. Brooks has a 521-414 (.557) regular season and 49-48 (.505) playoff record in 12 seasons with Oklahoma City and Washington.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 11, 2023
Brooks, 57, has a ton of experience in the lead chair in the NBA. 12 of his 20 years have come as a head coach, and most of his best seasons were at the helm of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the early 2010s. From 2009 to 2014, Brooks’ teams accumulated 55, 55, 47, 60, and 59 wins, and the worst season in that stretch concluded with an NBA Finals appearance (2011-12, lost 4-1 to the LeBron/Wade/Bosh Miami Heat). Of course, those teams were loaded; Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, young Serge Ibaka, and for a few years James Harden all played major roles in that team’s success.
Of course, just like it did with Mike Budenholzer, sometimes a team-coach relationship runs its course, and Brooks landed in Washington where he led the John Wall-Bradley Beal Wizards to a couple playoff appearances before the bottom fell out for that team. After parting ways with the Wizards, Brooks has been a part of the staff in Portland where he (seemingly) has been biding his time until another opportunity comes up. Perhaps this is the opportunity he was waiting for?
Whether or not the Bucks are best-served by tapping Brooks to take the head coach role is a totally separate question. Brooks was a successful NBA coach, but is he the right coach for this team, at this time? He clearly has experience working with elite talent (Giannis Antetokounmpo today is on the same level as Thunder-era Kevin Durant), but he’s also never managed to find the ultimate success that the Bucks are chasing: a championship.
UPDATE: The Bucks are also interviewing Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, per Woj:
The Milwaukee Bucks received permission to interview Toronto Raptors top assistant Adrian Griffin for their coaching job, sources tell ESPN. Griffin is also a candidate for the opening in Toronto. He started his coaching career with the Bucks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 11, 2023
As noted, Griffin began his assistant career on Scott Skiles’ staff way back in 2008 after a twelve-year playing career. The 48-year-old went on to coach in Chicago, Orlando, OKC, and Toronto, where he’s been the past five seasons as Nick Nurse’s lead assistant. Despite Nurse’s firing, the Raptors made it clear that Griffin would be retained, which is not something usually done for assistants. His son AJ is coming off a nice rookie season as an Atlanta Hawk, who made him their first-round pick last year. Griffin has been a mainstay in coaching searches over recent seasons and is expected to interview—or more likely, already has interviewed—with his current employer for their vacancy, where he figures to be one of the top candidates.
UPDATE 2: The story has flown a bit under the radar (probably because it’s a specific sort of legal quagmire), but Griffin comes with a bit off-the-court baggage. As included by our partners over at Silver Screen And Roll, there’s a fair bit of...something...between him and his former spouse.
Griffin’s ex-wife made a series of domestic violence allegations against him in since-deleted tweets. Griffin denied the allegations in a statement, and countersued for defamation last August. The full lawsuit can be found here. The case is still ongoing.
I’m sure we’ll have more reports, more names, more items to debate in the coming weeks. Today, tell us what you think of Scott Brooks and Adrian Griffin!