The Bucks cast a remarkably wide net in their coaching search but it appears they are whittling down their list.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Bucks are bringing back top candidates such as ex-Raptors coach Nick Nurse, top Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and former Nets coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson for another round of interviews.
Those three will be part of “final conversations” in the Bucks’ coaching search this week, Wojnarowski reported. It is unclear if it is the final conversations with those three, or if they are indeed the three finalists for the job — though it’s probably safe to assume it’s the latter.
Milwaukee GM Jon Horst is looking to replace Mike Budenholzer, fired after the season. The Bucks finished with the NBA’s best regular-season record (58-24) but were bounced from the playoffs but the Heat, the bottom seed in the Eastern Conference.
Still, the promising roster, led by star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, undoubtedly makes the coaching job appealing.
Nurse, 55, won a title as coach of the Raptors in 2019, with Griffin as an assistant. Overall, Nurse coached the Raptors from 2018 until this past season, compiling a 227-163 record. Toronto was also 25-16 in the playoffs under Nurse, who began as an assistant with the franchise in 2013.
Griffin, 48, has been an assistant with the Raptors since 2018. He has also served as an assistant with the Thunder, Magic, Bulls and Bucks since 2008, when he retired as a journeyman forward.
He is also believed to be a candidate to take Nurse’s old job with the Raptors.
Atkinson, 55, has spent each of the last two seasons with coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors. Before that, he spent a year on the Clippers bench.
He was head coach of the Nets from 2016-20, fired just several days before the league shut down because of the COVID pandemic. With Brooklyn, Atkinson compiled a record of 118-190.
He has also held assistant coaching jobs with the Hawks and Knicks from 2008-16.
ESPN Sources: The Bucks are narrowing group of top candidates in franchise’s head coaching search: Nick Nurse, Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson and Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin. These coaches will be part of final conversations with Milwaukee leadership this week.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 22, 2023