According to the AP source, the Bucks are finalizing the deal to make the Raptors’ Adrian Griffin their head coach

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks are finalizing a deal to make Adrian Griffin their head coach after spending the past five seasons as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on Saturday on condition of anonymity as the deal is still final.

Griffin would replace Mike Budenholzer, who got fired Earlier this month following the surprise loss of the top seeded Bucks to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

Griffin had been an assistant to a team led by Nick Nurse in Toronto. who got fired last month after the end of the Raptors season. Griffin was the Raptors’ assistant in 2019 NBA championship team which defeated the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

ESPN and The Athletic first reported on the Bucks’ selection of Griffin.

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His hiring would allow Griffin to return to where he started his coaching career.

The 48-year-old was an assistant for the Bucks from 2008 to 2010 when Scott Skiles was Milwaukee’s head coach. Griffin began his first coaching stint in Milwaukee after a nine-year NBA playing career These included stints with the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics.

He was also an assistant in Chicago, Orlando and Oklahoma City before joining Toronto.

Griffin’s job would be to ensure the Bucks avoid the early playoff exit that ended their last two seasons as they grapple with a potentially tightening championship window.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who placed third in this year’s MVP pick, has two years left in office and a player option for 2025-26 Supermax offer he signed in December 2020. Antetokoumpo is eligible to sign an extension in September.

Brook Lopez, runner-up to Memphis’s Jaren Jackson Jr. for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is a free agent. Three-time All-Star Khris Middleton could also become a free agent if he doesn’t take his $40.4 million player option for the upcoming season.

Antetokounmpo is 28, but most of the Bucks’ other key players are well into their 30s. Lopez is 35, All-Star guard Jrue Holiday turns 33 on June 12, and Middleton turns 32 on August 12.

Budenholzer led the Bucks to a league-best 271-120 regular season in his five seasons and coached the Bucks to their first NBA title since 1971 in 2020-21. But with the notable exception of that championship run, the Bucks failed them can repeat their regular-season success in the postseason.

The Bucks had a regular season best in the league this year, 58-24, but lost 4-1 to the Miami Heat in the opening round of the playoffs. They became only the sixth No. 1 to lose to a No. 8 in the opening round and the only No. 1 not to win more than one playoff game.

Budenholzer also led Milwaukee to the league’s best regular season record in 2018-19 and 2019-20. The Bucks squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to a Toronto team that included Griffin on the coaching staff in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks lost 4-1 to Miami in the second round of 2020.

The 2020-21 Milwaukee team was ranked No. 3 in the Eastern Conference, losing a seven-game streak in the second round to the Boston Celtics.

Milwaukee played the entire series against Boston without Middleton, who sustained a medial ligament sprain in his left knee. In that year’s series against Miami, Antetokounmpo left Game 1 early and missed all Games 2 and 3 with a lower back contusion.

AP Pro Basketball writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

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