Adrian VojnarowskiSenior NBA insider3 minutes to read
the The Milwaukee Bucks have narrowed down the pool of top candidates in their franchise coaching search and plan to meet with former Toronto coach Nick Nurse, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin this week, sources tell ESPN Monday.
Sources said these three coaches will be part of talks with franchise leadership in the coming days. Bucks general manager John Hurst interviewed 15 initial candidates in recent weeks before the franchise began narrowing down its list of finalists over the weekend, sources said.
The sources said the nurse loomed large not only in the searches of the Bucks, but of the searches of the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors and Detroit Pistons also have ongoing searches for a new coach.
The Bucks offer an attractive job in a competitive market with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in his prime. Milwaukee is looking to replace Mike Budenholzer, who was fired after the team was upset in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as the No. 1 seed. Budenholzer won the 2021 NBA Championship and left with a nearly . 700 winning percentage in the regular season.
Nurse left Toronto with an NBA title in 2019, an NBA Coach of the Year award in 2020 and a record of 227-163 (. 582) in five seasons as a coach.
Atkinson accepted the Hornets head coach position last spring before changing his mind and staying with the Warriors for a second season. He spent a year on the Clippers’ coaching staff after parting ways with the Brooklyn Nets in the 2019-20 season. Atkinson has been between 118 and 190 in the past three years with the Nets, including posting a 42-40 record and reaching the playoffs in the 2018-19 season.
Griffin has been a consistent climber as a prime coaching candidate among the league’s pool of assistants, including the past four years on Nurse’s staff with the Raptors. Griffin made stops with Oklahoma City, Orlando, and Chicago, and began his NBA coaching career as an assistant for two seasons (2008-2010) with the Bucks.
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