NBA Rumors: Lakers trade deadline priorities, why Bucks fired Griffin, Suns untouchable

  • Suns won't trade Grayson Allen
  • Bucks' vets lost faith in Adrian Griffin before pivot to Doc Rivers
  • Lakers focused on Dejounte Murray, Bruce Brown at trade deadline

LeBron James, Dejounte Murray
LeBron James, Dejounte Murray / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
2 of 3

NBA Rumors: Adrian Griffin lost support of locker room before Bucks firing

The Milwaukee Bucks agreed to contract terms with Doc Rivers on Wednesday, ending a brief coaching search that only ever included one real candidate. On Tuesday, the Bucks fired Adrian Griffin 43 games into his tenure, despite Milwaukee's 30-13 record. A new report from Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report details why Griffin was so suddenly let go.

"Over time, Griffin lost the locker room, and the front office believed a drastic change was necessary."

In the week leading up to Griffin's ouster, the Bucks' front office began observing practices from the sideline. Before that, Doc Rivers was brought on as an "informal consultant" to Griffin at the behest of the Bucks, per The Athletic. So, the writing has been on the wall for a while.

Haynes' report details how Griffin lost the support of Milwaukee's veterans. He held an airing-out session following Milwaukee's In-Season Tournament loss to the Indiana Pacers, during which he stressed the importance of sacrifice to the Bucks' stars. While that led to momentary peace and a seven-game win streak, "bickering" continued in the locker room. Players were unhappy with Griffin's schematic choices on both ends. The Bucks' currently own the No. 21 defense in the NBA.

While the front office is undeniably at fault, at least partially, for Milwaukee's defensive shortcomings, Griffin never put the necessary structure in place as a head coach. His scheme on defense didn't fit the strengths of Brook Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Meanwhile, he never leaned into the inherent dynamism of two-man actions featuring Giannis and Damian Lillard on offense.

Rivers was much-maligned during his latest head coaching stint with the Philadelphia 76ers. He blew multiple postseason leads and became infamous for his stubborn rotation choices. Even so, he's a consistent regular season winner and he builds strong relationships with his star players. He is a better coach than Griffin, at least for what the Bucks presently need. Now, we will see if Rivers can get Milwaukee to the mountaintop.