Milwaukee Bucks reportedly to hire Adrian Griffin as head coach

Detroit Pistons v Toronto Raptors
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Buzz had been growing for a week that Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin was the favorite Bucks coaching candidate of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Nick Nurse had his backers in the organization, but in a superstar-driven league, the wishes of players like the Greek Freak hold a lot of sway (especially with him up for a new contract in a couple of years).

The Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly hiring Griffin as their next head coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This reaction from Fred VanVleet should tell you all you need to know about how the Raptors players felt about Griffin.

This hire is a gamble by the Bucks, turning the keys of a contender over to a rookie coach, but Griffin is more than deserving of a shot. Griffin spent eight years as a role player in the NBA — after going undrafted out of Seton Hall hand having to play in the Philipines — and then got into coaching, starting as an assistant in Milwaukee from 2008-2010. Griffin is seen as a defensive-first coach with a strong player development background (he worked with Jimmy Butler in Chicago). He’s been at or near the top of the “guys who deserve a shot” list for years and was in consideration for the open Raptors job in Toronto.

Instead, he now takes over a contender, although with a roster that is getting older and more expensive fast (free agent center Brook Lopez turns 35 this year, Khris Middleton is 31 and has a $40.4 million player option, Jrue Holiday is 31 and extension eligible come the fall).

Griffin will replace Mike Budenholzer, who was let go despite winning a championship with this team in 2021. Budenholzer is a process guy and was considered too rigid and slow to make adjustments in the playoffs, and this year’s first-round elimination by the No. 8 seed Miami Heat was seen as the culmination of that (even though Antetokounmpo missed two games due to a back injury). Griffin will bring a different voice and some new looks to a Bucks team still in its championship window.

Don’t be surprised if the Bucks hire a former NBA head coach to be Griffin’s lead assistant, to give him a veteran voice as a sounding board.

Nurse had been considered one of the frontrunners for this job, but now looks like someone destined to land in Philadelphia or Phoenix.

Coaching carousel update: Nick Nurse has strong, not universal, support in Milwaukee


Five open coaching jobs remain around the NBA: Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons.

Here is the latest on the searches to fill those openings.

UPDATE: The Milwaukee Bucks will hire Adrian Griffin as their new head coach.


• Nick Nurse may be the first domino to fall with him having drawn interest from the Suns, Bucks and 76ers. Nurse has strong support in Milwaukee, but it’s not universal, reports Ian Begley of

So it’s worth noting that, as of earlier this week, Nick Nurse’s candidacy had strong support within the organization. Though not all key stakeholders in Milwaukee were aligned on Nurse, per SNY sources.

• Nurse has interviewed in Phoenix as well. Their top target was current Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, according to multiple reports, but Begley reinforces what has been reported here at NBC Sports and other places: The Clippers are not expected to part ways with Lue. Even if they do, the Clippers will not let their coach walk to a division rival in Phoenix.

• Momentum appears to be building behind Suns’ assistant coach Kevin Young getting a promotion in Phoenix, with Marc Stein reporting he got a key endorsement.

Word is Young, who has also interviewed for the head coaching vacancies in Milwaukee and Toronto, has received a strong endorsement from Suns star Devin Booker.

• It would be risky to put a first-time head coach in charge of a contender in Phoenix. If new owner Mat Ishbia goes that route, look for the Suns to get a former NBA head coach to be his assistant (don’t be surprised to see that in Boston next season as well, where Joe Mazzulla is expected to remain as coach).

• Nurse, former Nets’ head coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin remain the finalists for the Bucks head coaching job. Stein reports Giannis Antetokounmpo is “intrigued” by Griffin.

• Toronto’s coaching search could be influenced by which direction team president Masai Ujiri decides to take the roster, something else up in the air. From ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on the Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip Real GM).

“In talking to folks that have been in touch with the Raptors recently, the Raptors don’t seem to know which direction they’re going to take. Whether or not they are going to focus on re-signing Fred VanVleet, extending Pascal Siakam, potentially making other roster upgrades. Or whether or not they’re going to send Fred VanVleet in a sign-and-trade, maybe investigate moving other players be it OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam.”

• Multiple reports have Bucks’ assistant Charles Lee and former UConn coach Kevin Ollie as the frontrunners to be the next head coach in Detroit. Pistons’ ownership reportedly backed the Brinks truck up to Monty Williams’ house but he was not interested, Stein reported. The buzz has been that GM Troy Weaver is backing Ollie.

• The only coaching vacancy filled so far this offseason is Ime Udoka taking the job as the Rockets’ head coach.

PBT Podcast: Nuggets advance, LeBron talks retirement, coaching carousel


LeBron James and his retirement talk stole the headlines, but the Denver Nuggets and their play deserve to be front and center, and that’s the first topic in this week’s podcast.

Corey Robinson and Kurt Helin of NBC Sports get into what works for Denver, then dive into if LeBron is really thinking about retirement (he’s not) and what the Lakers need to do. From there there is a conversation about the Heat and if the Celtics can come back on them.

Next, for Corey’s Jukebox, it’s time to sing the blues with Johnny Lee Hooker and talk Lakers a little more. The conversation then shifts to Carmelo Anthony and his Hall of Fame career, before talking about the coaching searches around the NBA and how Nick Nurse is a hot name.

Also, would you fire Joe Mazzulla? Finally, a quick conversation about the Game of Life.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at

Suns moving forward in coaching search with Nurse, Rivers atop list

Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics
Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

We can surmise this much, the Phoenix Suns coaching search is moving forward and a couple of big names — Nick Nurse and Doc Rivers — are near the top of the list.

Beyond that, reports of the Suns coaching search that leaned out late Tuesday were a bit murky. That’s because three reports from the three biggest news-breaking reporters around the NBA on the search were all a little different. Maybe it’s a game of telephone and by the time the information filtered through agents and sources to each man it was a little different. If you want a real conspiracy theory, maybe owner Mat Ishbia and GM James Jones pulled a Lord Tywin Lannister-level move and told various staffers/agents different things to see what showed up where in the media.

The first reports — from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania — were similar and said the Suns had reached the final phase of their coaching search with four or five names in the mix.

The only real difference between the two is the addition of Frank Vogel to the mix. The well-connected Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic had the same five-man list as Charania.

However, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report/TNT comes in later and essentially contradicts the idea that the Suns are nearing the final stages of their search.

Because Ishbia is seen around the league as running this search (and basketball operations), it is viewed as unpredictable. That said, as much as the Bucks’ Lee, the Suns’ Young, and the Kings’ Fernandez deserve a shot to be an NBA head coach, it’s hard to imagine Phoenix — with a short championship window as constructed — giving the job to a first-time head coach.

Nurse and Atkinson also are two of the final candidates for the Bucks’ head coaching job, although considering Atkinson’s history with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn it’s hard to imagine the Suns go that route. That could pressure the Suns to decide and, if Nurse is their guy, sign him before the Bucks do. (The Bucks could lean into Atkinson, who spent four years as an assistant coach to Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta, allowing Milwaukee to bring in a new voice and someone considered more creative as a coach, without radically changing the system as Nurse might.)

Is Doc Rivers the coach you hire to take a team the last mile to a title?

Meanwhile, despite plenty of interest in his services, the buzz around the league is growing that former Suns’ coach Monty Williams may step off the NBA coaching carousel for a year or so.



Lopez, Brooks, Reaves among potential targets for ‘aggressive’ Rockets


It’s no secret: The Houston Rockets are done with the early stages of rebuilding and want to start winning games and be part of the postseason again starting next season. Also not a secret, their top target in free agency is James Harden.

However, that is not the only name on the list in Houston, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

Outside of Harden, other high-ranking targets for Houston include Brook Lopez, Dillon Brooks and restricted free agents Cam Johnson and Austin Reaves, league sources said. They also said acquiring a veteran point guard is Houston’s primary objective, meaning even if a move for Harden didn’t materialize, names like Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Donte DiVincenzo and even former Rockets player Chris Paul could be considered should they become available.

Lopez almost certainly is back in Milwaukee, the Bucks are stuck having to go way over the cap to keep one of the best defensive centers in the game — if they want to chase rings they need him (but it will hit hard when tax bills come due). The Lakers have made it clear to anyone who will listen that they will match any offer for Reaves after he was their third-best player this postseason. Cam Johnson also helped his stock in the playoffs — 18.5 points a game shooting 42.9% from 3 — and the Nets are expected to match an offer for him (four years, $80-90 million).

Dillon Brooks is available, is young, and would bring defensive intensity to the Rockets if management thinks he would be a fit, both in terms of personality and role. DiVincenzo is expected to opt out of the $4.7 million he is owed and the Bucks (about to pay Lopez on top of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday) may not be willing to match a strong offer. Chris Paul’s future in Phoenix is murky, but the Suns would want veteran, trusted role players back in a trade.

The other big trade chip the Rockets have is the No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft. Amen Thompson — a very athletic, high ceiling but raw and in need of development wing — is expected to go in that slot. He could fit in Houston, but if another team falls in love with Thompson the Rockets could trade the pick, maybe packaged with a player, to get the kind of win-now veteran they seek.

Whatever happens, it will be a hot and wild summer in Houston.