Bucks begin talks with Doc Rivers on coaching vacancy

The Milwaukee Bucks have started discussions with Doc Rivers to take over for fired coach Adrian Griffin, according to a report from Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Eric Nehm of The Athletic.Doc Rivers

Griffin was fired despite a 30-13 record in his first season as an NBA head coach. Multiple reasons were cited, mostly a reported disconnect with the players, as we relayed here.

Former Brooklyn Nets coach and current Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson could be an option if the Bucks can’t come to terms with Rivers.

The Bucks have started discussions with Rivers to become the new head coach of the franchise, league sources said,” Charania, Amick and Nehm wrote. “Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who was a runner-up to Griffin in the Bucks’ head coaching search last year, is a candidate for the job as well if the team is unable to secure a deal with Rivers.”

Rivers, 62, currently serves as an in-game analyst for ESPN broadcasts of NBA games.

He previously coached the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic — and has an overall coaching record of 1,097-763 in 24 seasons, winning a championship with the Celtics in 2008.

Meanwhile, Griffin led the Bucks to a 30-13 record in his first season as an NBA head coach anywhere. His first sign of trouble in Milwaukee came before the season, when former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts resigned from his position as Griffin’s assistant. Lillard is known to be a Stotts fan from their time together in Portland.

“With Stotts out of the picture and the Bucks still looking for their identity as they reached the semifinals of the In-Season Tournament, the Bucks reached out to Rivers to serve as a veteran coaching voice to help Griffin find a path forward through the season,” Charania, Amick and Nehm wrote.

Griffin, 49, began his NBA coaching career as a Bucks assistant in 2008. He then served as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors before being hired to replace Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee this past offseason.

Before becoming a coach, Griffin was a journeyman guard/forward in the NBA from 1999-2008, playing for six different teams in that span.

“There have been steady rumblings for weeks in NBA circles that several Bucks veterans, including (Giannis Antetokounmpo), had lost faith in Griffin,” Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated wrote. “That appeared to be smart hire last spring just never worked out.”

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