The Philadelphia 76ers fired Doc Rivers and have a list of six coaching candidates they’ll thoroughly vet to fill their vacancy.
But fans who really want the team to hire Nick Nurse were cautious that the title-winning former Raptors coach would sign with the rival Bucks. Coaching Giannis Antetokounmpo is a pretty attractive proposition. So it came as little surprise when it was reported Nurse was a finalist for that opening.
But according to ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider, Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks will actually be hiring Nurse’s former assistant in Adrian Griffin.
The Bucks are beginning work on financial terms of a contract with Griffin and a deal is expected to be reached soon that’ll make Griffin the franchise’s next head coach, sources said. https://t.co/aXE022C2UH— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 27, 2023
Apparently, Nurse didn’t want that job in the end. According to Senior lead NBA Insider for The Athletic and Stadium, Shams Charania, Nurse voluntarily pulled out of the Bucks’ process.
Sources: After Nick Nurse pulled out of the process, the Milwaukee Bucks are deciding between Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson for the franchise’s next head coach. Griffin is gaining traction in the process.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 27, 2023
Back on May 22, Woj added that Nurse “looms prominently in Phoenix and Philadelphia searches too, sources say.”
So why would Nurse remove himself from the Bucks gig? Does that mean he’s making headway with a contract to coach Joel Embiid? Would he take such a job without knowing the status of James Harden, who’ll soon become an unrestricted free agent?
There has been some speculation that ownership discord or uncertainty makes the Bucks and Suns jobs a bit less appealing.
“I actually think Philadelphia, from an ownership standpoint, has the most stability,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently added, when discussing the Sixers, Suns, and Bucks vacancies.
So make of this what you will. If you had to guess, it sounds like Nurse is likely closer to a deal with either Philadelphia or Phoenix. And if you take Windy’s word for it, Philly offers candidates more security than Phoenix.
We’ll keep you posted on whatever developments come in.
Griffin played in the NBA on the wing. He was undrafted and worked his way into a respectable career spanning the ‘99-’08 seasons. He has been an assistant coach for the Bucks, Bulls, Magic, Thunder, and Raptors beginning in 2008 after his playing career came to a close.
He takes over for the team that first took a chance on him, back when Scott Skiles was manning the helm for The Deer. We’re also left wondering if the Bucks will be able to retain both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez in free agency.