Report: Bucks fire Adrian Griffin; working towards deal with Doc Rivers

Golden State Warriors v Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The Milwaukee Bucks have shockingly dismissed first-year head coach Adrian Griffin, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Despite the Bucks sitting second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-13, their front office determined that it was time to make a change.

It's astonishingly, frankly, that a team would part with a head coach despite enjoying such a level of success, but the Bucks were confident that it was better to make a move now rather than later and risk their season further.

Milwaukee experienced quite a bit of change this offseason after trading in Jrue Holiday for Damian Lillard and head coach Mike Budenholzer for Griffin. Despite this change, the Bucks have managed to perform admirably, holding their ground as a top contender even as the team attempts to acclimate to their new teammates and coaches. And yet, Griffin did not last until February.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's role in Griffin's Bucks career

The role of Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in all of this is quite interesting. But what is particularly fascinating is his role at both the start and finish of Griffin's Bucks career. According to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes, Giannis vouched for Griffin in the midst of the team's coaching search, leading to Griffin's eventual hiring.

Now, less than a year later, the Bucks have moved on from Griffin, and Giannis is once again at the center of the story. Many may remember an argument between Giannis and Griffin two months ago, back on November 23. Well, two months later, Griffin finds himself on the outside, looking in on the Milwaukee Bucks organization.

It goes without saying that any responsible franchise that rosters a player of Giannis' ability and accomplishments would consult their franchise player on major decisions. The Philadelphia 76ers did just that this offseason with Joel Embiid, who hasn't even brought a championship to his city. How could they not consult Giannis at the end of their relationship with Griffin?

Simply put, they should have, but for this story to last less than eight months is concerning as it pertains to the organization as a whole. However, what's done is done, and now the issue at hand for Milwaukee is who will take the lead from here. To that point, as far as who will replace Griffin in the immediate future, it will be assistant Joe Prunty. From there, that's when things get a bit more interesting.

Chris Haynes was the first to report on a potential candidate going forward, mentioning Doc Rivers, who had served as an advisor to Griffin earlier in the season, as a name at the top of Milwaukee's list. Wojnarowski later confirmed the Buck's interest in Rivers while stating that the Bucks will have a small pool of proven veteran coaches.

Rivers most recently coached the Sixers for three years, each season ending in the second round of the NBA playoffs. He would provide a sense of stability that the Bucks are likely pining for at the moment.

Less than two hours after the initial news broke, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the Bucks and Rivers were working towards a deal. Milwaukee is hoping to return to their old ways as a top defensive team in the league by hiring Rivers, who has a track record of successful defenses with himself at the helm.

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Milwaukee's problems, however, are not as simple as their coaching. Moving on from Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, and Javon Carter for Damian Lillard, Cam Payne, and Malik Beasley has drastically altered their personnel at the guard positions; in so doing, they have severely lowered both their defensive floor and ceiling.