The news that the Milwaukee Bucks dismissed Adrian Griffin on Tuesday shocked most of the NBA.
Just over half of a season into his tenure, the Bucks cut ties with their rookie head coach. Now, they need a replacement, and though assistant Joe Prunty will serve as the interim coach momentarily, the team has their eyes on a pair of recognizable names to eventually fill the void.
2 Prominent names in the mix for Bucks' vacant head coaching job
According to a joint article created by The Athletic's Shams Charania, Sam Amick, and Eric Nehm (Subscription required), the team has already started to have discussions with Doc Rivers to be their next head coach. However, if a deal cannot be reached with Rivers, the Bucks have a backup plan, as Kenny Atkinson is a name they could reportedly turn to.
The Rivers angle is interesting. Per that article, Rivers, currently working at ESPN, had actually served as an informal consultant to Griffin before his hiring. Milwaukee has clearly been high on Rivers for a while, as he was a candidate in their coaching search before they hired Griffin as well. He's likely to get another coaching gig here very soon, this time with the Bucks.
Sticking with previous candidates from this past off-season, Atkinson was also in the mix before the Bucks went with Griffin. He's currently an assistant with the Golden State Warriors.
Neither of these names are home-run candidates, but when you're looking for a new coach in the middle of the season, options will be slim.
In the immediate aftermath of Griffin's firing, Rivers was a name that immediately popped into heads everywhere due to his experience. Rivers has been a coach for a long time and has experience when it comes to working with star players, such as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and many more.
Rivers has worked with some of the best, and his experience could be useful when trying to get the best out of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and Khris Middleton, among the rest of the roster.
Of course, the prominent concern with Rivers is his playoff shortcomings over the years. He's been known to endure his share of postseason collapses after having a lead, despite the sheer amount of talent he's had at his disposal. That would be worrisome for the Bucks, who let go of former coach Mike Budenholzer for his postseason collapses.
Still, it seems as if the Bucks might be comfortable going with Rivers, given his experience and their limited options. Only time will tell if that's the direction they ultimately go in.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.