The Milwaukee Bucks have fired head coach Adrian Griffin after just seven months at the helm, despite the team sitting second in the Eastern Conference with a 30-13 record.
The Bucks hired Griffin last June after parting ways with Mike Budenholzer, who led the team to the NBA championship in 2021 but oversaw a disappointing first-round playoff exit against the Miami Heat last campaign.
Milwaukee’s record under Griffin is the best managed by a coach who was sacked mid-season since the Cleveland Cavaliers dismissed David Blatt while 30-11 in January 2016.
However, the Bucks have been criticised over their defensive regression this term, while reports have also suggested two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had lost faith in the 49-year-old.
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In a statement released on Tuesday, general manager Jon Horst said: “This was a difficult decision to make during the season.
“We are working immediately toward hiring our next head coach. We thank coach Griffin for his hard work and contributions to the team.”
The Milwaukee Bucks have dismissed head coach Adrian Griffin. pic.twitter.com/6PUgCnyuIi
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 23, 2024
The team said assistant coach Joe Prunty will serve as interim head coach for their forthcoming games, with a home contest against Cleveland next up on Wednesday.
A report from ESPN said Milwaukee would look to pursue proven and readily available head coach candidates, with Doc Rivers likely to be near the top of their list.
Rivers, who led the Boston Celtics to the NBA Championship in 2008, was fired by the Philadelphia 76ers last May after failing to guide them to victory against his former team in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Bucks have won five of their last six games including their last two, both against the struggling Detroit Pistons, but they trail the 34-10 Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference.