After a dismal showing in the first round, losing in five games to the Miami Heat, the Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Mike Budenholzer after five seasons with the organization.
Budenholzer led the Bucks to a championship and their best stretch of regular season success the franchise has seen, but aside from that title run, the Bucks had not often lived up to expectations in the postseason. As such, they wanted to find a new voice that could provide a different message to the team, particularly on offense where they have had a tendency to get bogged down in the halfcourt in the playoffs.
On Saturday, word broke that the team was down to its final two after Nick Nurse bowed out of the process, with the decision looming between Nurse’s lead assistant in Toronto, Adrian Griffin, and Warriors assistant (and former Nets head coach) Kenny Atkinson. Ultimately, the Bucks decided on Griffin as the man to lead them forward, hoping he will be able to reinvigorate the team going into the 2023-24 season.
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
Griffin began his coaching career in Milwaukee as an assistant under Scott Skiles for two years before bouncing around with stints in Chicago, Orlando, and Oklahoma City before joining the Raptors staff in 2018. This will be Griffin’s first head coaching job, but he’s been a leading candidate to make the leap to the first chair on the bench for a few years. With Griffin in place, Milwaukee can now move forward with making their decisions on key players like Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton, as they both could enter free agency this summer.
The Bucks making their hire also could set off a domino effect, with Phoenix and Philadelphia in similar positions as contenders seeking new head coaches and now have one fewer team they are competing with for top candidates.