In the wake of the Milwaukee Bucks flubbing their way out of the NBA Playoffs, the franchise parted ways with head coach Mike Budenholzer and took on the task of finding his successor. After narrowing it down to three final candidates, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin has been chosen to be the team’s new sideline leader.
ESPN Sources: The Milwaukee Bucks are planning to hire Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin as the franchise’s next head coach. Sides are progressing on terms of an agreement. pic.twitter.com/Kz1iydRKsF— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 27, 2023
It was just reported this morning so terms of the deal are not yet known – Woj followed up stating that the team is “beginning work on financial terms of a contract” – but the ramifications of this decision are on par with some of the franchise’s biggest crossroads in recent memory.
In what was a potentially overlooked wrinkle, mere moments before Woj posted the main news it was reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Nick Nurse, also formerly of the Toronto Raptors, removed himself from the process in Milwaukee.
Sources: After Nick Nurse pulled out of the process, the Milwaukee Bucks are deciding between Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson for the franchise’s next head coach. Griffin is gaining traction in the process.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 27, 2023
With a number of high-profile openings across the league (Philadelphia and Phoenix, most notably), it follows logic that Nurse likely dropped out of the Milwaukee search because he has traction in another destination. In any case, the Bucks made their decision and Adrian Griffin returns to his coaching roots; his first foray into the profession came on Scott Skiles’ coaching staff in Milwaukee back in 2008.
It was widely known that the Bucks’ decision would be largely influenced by the opinion of their superstar player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. So when Marc Stein reported that Giannis was “intrigued” by Griffin, coupled with the rumors about Giannis’ lukewarm affinity for Nurse (it was reported that he had “strong support” in Milwaukee but it was not uniform), there is at least some credibility to rumors that Giannis got his way.
Now, the Bucks are a team with an aging core, a high salary figure, a superstar in his prime, and are entrusting the on-court operation to a first-time head coach.
Welcome, Coach Griffin. And good luck!