April 23, 2024

MILWAUKEE — Doc Rivers is finalizing a deal to take over because the Milwaukee Bucks coach a day after the firing of Adrian Griffin, an individual with information of the negotiations informed The Related Press on Wednesday.

Rivers and the Bucks have been nonetheless negotiating on Wednesday, based on the one who spoke to the AP on situation of anonymity as a result of no contract had been accomplished.

ESPN, the place Rivers has labored this season an analyst, reported that Rivers has agreed to a deal in precept. ESPN’s public relations division launched a press release on social media from head of occasion and studio manufacturing David Roberts saying, “We want Doc nicely and we stay up for documenting the subsequent chapter of his teaching profession.”

Interim coach Joe Prunty will coach the Bucks on Wednesday night time after they host the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bucks common supervisor Jon Horst held a information convention earlier than the sport to debate Griffin’s dismissal however declined to debate the coach’s potential successor.

“We’re not going to speak about Doc tonight,” Horst stated. “That’s not a part of this. There shall be sooner or later hopefully a time the place we are able to do this, however this can be a probability for us to sort of dive into the Adrian Griffin piece.”

The Bucks fired Griffin on Tuesday regardless of having a 30-13 file that matches the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves for the second-best mark within the league. Milwaukee is 3 1/2 video games behind the Boston Celtics within the Japanese Convention standings.

“We imagine that this can be a good staff proper now, and with enhancements, now we have an opportunity to be nice,” stated Horst, who indicated he didn’t seek the advice of gamers earlier than making this determination. “We’re on the lookout for a technique to actually make this an amazing staff.”

Griffin had by no means been a head coach till the Bucks employed him final summer time, although he had spent 16 years as an assistant. The Bucks could be changing him with somebody who has practically a quarter-century of head teaching expertise.

Rivers has loads of Milwaukee ties, as he performed for Marquette from 1980-83 and his No. 31 jersey hangs from the Fiserv Discussion board rafters. He additionally has a championship background after main the Boston Celtics to a title in 2008 and a Sport 7 Finals look two years later.

He didn’t have as a lot postseason success in later stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2013-20) and Philadelphia 76ers (2020-23). The 76ers fired him final 12 months after they exited within the second spherical of the playoffs every of his three seasons in Philadelphia.

Rivers has a 1,097-763 regular-season file and 111-104 playoff mark in 24 seasons with the Magic (1999-2004), Celtics (2004-13), Clippers and 76ers.

His 1,097 regular-season wins put him one shy of Larry Brown for eighth most in NBA historical past. His departure from ESPN introduced an emotional response from his broadcast teammates, Mike Breen and Doris Burke, earlier than ABC aired the Dallas-Phoenix sport on Wednesday night time.

“Our pricey buddy has determined that life as an NBA broadcaster is method too nerve-racking, so he’s determined to go for a less-stressful job — an NBA head coach on a staff that’s making an attempt to win a championship,” Breen stated on the printed. “We thank him for all his many weeks of service and we want him all of the luck on the planet.”

Rivers could be taking up a staff that’s chasing its second NBA title in 4 years and has proven a way of urgency within the strikes it has made during the last 12 months.

The Bucks posted the NBA’s finest regular-season file final 12 months, however fired coach Mike Budenholzer after a surprising 4-1 first-round playoff loss to the Miami Warmth. Budenholzer had led the 2020-21 Bucks to the franchise’s first championship in half a century.

Milwaukee adopted up the hiring of Griffin by buying seven-time all-NBA guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Path Blazers to staff him with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who signed a three-year, $186 million contract extension shortly earlier than the season. The Bucks gave up two-time All-Star guard Jrue Vacation and Grayson Allen within the Lillard commerce, which additionally left them with out management over any of their first-round draft picks till 2031.

Now they’ve fired Griffin after simply 43 video games. Horst acknowledged the dynamic of the staff had modified since Griffin’s arrival.

“These are particular alternatives,” Horst stated. “The expertise grew to become much more particular. The dedication to the staff much more vital. And I believe that elevated the urgency.”

Horst acknowledged how the dynamic of the staff had modified since Griffin’s rent whereas discussing the explanations behind the dismissal. The Bucks’ offseason strikes additionally included re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez.

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Rivers’ rapid process at Milwaukee could be to improve a protection that carried out poorly sufficient beneath Griffin to forged doubt on the Bucks’ possibilities of significantly contending for a title. The Bucks rank twenty first in defensive ranking, down from fourth final season.

“Defensively, now we have a expertise group I believe that may be higher than what they’ve been thus far,” Horst stated. “Is {that a} top-five protection, a top-10, top-15? I don’t know. That’s what we’re making an attempt to determine right here with the roster as constructed.”

Though the Bucks have one of many league’s finest information, they face a a lot more durable schedule the remainder of the best way. They’ve produced some troublesome performances whereas going 6-5 in January, although they’ve received 5 of their final six video games.

They misplaced back-to-back video games towards the Indiana Pacers, who’re 4-1 towards Milwaukee this season. They trailed by 31 factors at halftime of a 132-116 dwelling loss to Utah wherein Lillard was unavailable. They wanted a 3-pointer by Lillard on the buzzer to beat Sacramento at dwelling in extra time and suffered a 40-point loss at Cleveland final week when Antetokounmpo was out with a bruised proper shoulder.

These struggles had led to some frustrations from gamers in postgame media periods, however Horst disputed the concept Griffin had misplaced the locker room.

“My greatest frustration with sort of the aftermath was that that’s the narrative,” Horst stated. “That’s simply not my opinion. That doesn’t imply that I’m proper or flawed, however my opinion, my evaluation and possession’s evaluation and going via this wasn’t an evaluation that he misplaced the locker room, that there was dysfunction, that there have been gamers that have been leaping off the ship. That’s simply not our evaluation.”

AP reporter Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed.