Report: Nurse, Atkinson, Griffin among Bucks' coaching search finalists
The Milwaukee Bucks are narrowing their search for a new head coach, with Nick Nurse, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin among the finalists, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The trio will engage in final discussions with the Bucks' front office this coming week, Wojnarowski adds.
Nurse has been one of the most sought-after bench bosses on the open market since being let go by the Toronto Raptors in late April. The former Coach of the Year winner is reportedly on the Phoenix Suns' and Philadelphia 76ers' radar for their coaching vacancies.
He led the Raptors to their only championship in 2019 in his debut season as an NBA head coach and posted a winning percentage of 58.2% across five seasons in Toronto. However, the Raptors fired Nurse after getting eliminated at home by the Chicago Bulls in the play-in tournament following a 41-41 regular season.
Atkinson has worked on Steve Kerr's Warriors staff since 2021-22 after spending a year with the Los Angeles Clippers. Prior to L.A., he served as the Brooklyn Nets' head coach during the team's rebuilding phase from 2016-20 before suddenly stepping down in March 2020. Atkinson began his coaching career as an assistant on the New York Knicks and then joined the Atlanta Hawks for three seasons in 2013.
Griffin possesses the least amount of coaching experience of the three names but has worked as an assistant every season since joining the Bucks for the 2008-09 campaign. Though the games don't officially count toward his record, Griffin sporadically filled in as acting head coach during Nurse's absences in Toronto. A former NBA journeyman, Griffin played nine NBA seasons between five franchises.
Milwaukee has been searching for a new voice behind the bench since dismissing Mike Budenholzer on May 4. Budenholzer coached the team for five seasons, going 271-120 during the regular season. He steered the Bucks to their first championship in 50 years in 2021 but had only progressed to the conference finals one other time in 2019.