Inside What Led To Divorce Between Milwaukee Bucks, Adrian Griffin

NBA sources tell Bleacher Report that Adrian Griffin's last week-and-a-half as Milwaukee Bucks head coach saw more front-office involvement. Milt Newton and Jon Horst began watching practices and shootarounds. 

Executives often observe from near their office. But insiders say the Bucks' business office watching practice from the sidelines recently started raising eyebrows among coaches and players.

After leading the team to a second-best league record (30-13) in 43 games, Griffin was dismissed a week later. No matter the record, many saw this coming. "I appreciate the Bucks' chance. 

"You can't control everything," Griffin told Bleacher Report by phone after his firing. The job we did is good. I admire my coaches' hard work. It was my dream to coach this league. Excellent roster. 

Coaching Giannis, Dame, Khris, Brook. Actualized dream. I'm thankful and want to try again." Griffin, 49, exits four months into the season after signing a four-year contract in June 2023. 

After this next coaching search, the Bucks will pay three head coaches because they still owe Mike Budenholzer's salary. Before joining the Bucks, Griffin interviewed for 14 NBA head coaching jobs in 13 years. 

Milwaukee's future remained uncertain after losing to the Miami Heat in the first round last season. After firing Budenholzer, the Bucks didn't know if they'd re-sign Middleton or Lopez. 

Lopez was a free agent favorite for Houston. It was unclear if Giannis Antetokounmpo would extend. Milwaukee expected a drop in 2023-24.

The Bucks felt comfortable hiring a first-time head coach for those reasons. The Bucks' offseason's greatest acquisition, Damian Lillard, modified expectations. Griffin now had to win or lose.

The defense suffered, and the attack, while sometimes great, lacked regularity. Players criticized their roles, touches, chemistry, and both teams' systems privately. Griffin tried to bond the main players by airing out.

Griffin spoke with Antetokounmpo, Lillard, Middleton, and Lopez after their In-Season Tournament loss to the Indiana Pacers, sources said. All four discussed their strengths, weaknesses, and potential uses. 

Sources said Griffin lectured players on sacrifice. Many teammates were open when Antetokounmpo and Lillard drove to the basket, he said.  He criticized them for not defending nightly. Players enjoyed the airing-out. 

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