A day after firing Adrian Griffin, the Bucks have tapped Doc Rivers to come out of the ESPN broadcast booth and take over the reins in Milwaukee.
BREAKING: Doc Rivers is finalizing an agreement to become the next coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, sources tell ESPN. The Bucks are getting the coach they targeted over the past 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/SP16vhYJDP— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 24, 2024
Dan notes that the Bucks have the third-best record in basketball just 43 games into Griffin’s first season as a head coach after going through many interviews in order to get a job as a top man. So what happened here?
Amin says it’s simple — Griffin lost the locker room. Amin says in the NBA it doesn't matter if your Xs and Os are beyond reproach or if you have the best lineup data in the world or if you have a great relationship with your GM/ownership. Amin says if you lose the locker room there’s no coming back from that.
How did Griffin lose the locker room? Amin says Griffin lost the locker room through a bunch of small fissures over a long period of time. Amin points out that when Griffin was hired — before Giannis signed his extension, before Khris Middleton re-signed, before Dame arrived in Milwaukee — it felt like a time of transition for the organization. After Griffin had been applying and interviewing for head coaching jobs for so long, following his time as a player and assistant in the league, it felt like an opportunity to bring in some new blood, particularly after Mike Budenholzer had worn out his welcome with the team.
Dan notes that 43 games isn’t really a long period of time and it feels like a fairly shocking thing to happen this fast with a team this good. Amin points out that David Blatt got fired 41 games into a year in which he had the best record in the East and coming off a Finals appearance, although Dan argues that Blatt made a fool of himself. Amin, however, says that you can talk about what Blatt did or didn’t do, but guess what? He lost his locker room! And much like Blatt, Adrian Griffin lost his locker room. Amin says we don’t have specifics about the plays Griffin did or didn’t draw up but what we do know is that he lost the locker room and specifically the one guy you can’t lose, the Greek Freak.
Mike wants to know about the reports of a rift between Griffin and the veteran steadying hand that was brought in to help shepherd him into head coaching, Terry Stotts. Amin says the reporting seems to indicate there was culpability all around in this area. He notes that Stotts was operating with a level of freedom and autonomy that isn’t typical of an assistant coach. Griffin, meanwhile, was perhaps too reactive in doing a public undressing of Stotts in front of the team. Amin says they both probably handled it poorly. But, according to Amin, the reality is that is why you have a guy like Stotts on the staff — to help someone who has never done this before learn about the management of people that needs to occur when you’re the head coach.
Amin believes that once you lose the locker room, and especially your superstar, it’s over. So this was a move that had to be made.
Dan notes that around the league, it’s known that Doc has charmed his way into an assortment of wonderful situations and a lot of people don’t trust Doc’s charm as he figures out ways to get into good positions that benefit Doc Rivers. For instance, what’s up with the strange saga of CNN Sports, not someone like Woj, initially breaking the news? No offense to Fred Hickman and Vince Cellini, “CNN Sports” isn’t exactly known for breaking news these days or particularly active even.
Meanwhile, what was up with Doc getting this job after advising Griffin? That’s the interesting part, according to Amin.
“We will tolerate almost everything, any sort of incompetence. What we won’t tolerate is you losing your locker room...”— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) January 24, 2024
- @DarthAmin speaks on the circumstances that lead to the Milwaukee Bucks parting ways with Adrian Griffin.
Dan isn’t suggesting that Doc did anything wrong, but he’s just saying it’s suspicious enough that questions are being raised. This is a super unusual thing to have happen, Dan says, especially after adding Damian Lillard in the offseason. How obvious was the need for a change that a team made the unusual move to admit they made a mistake this quickly? But Amin says this lays bare the truism of the NBA — “We will tolerate almost everything, any sort of incompetence. What we won’t tolerate is you losing your locker room, particularly your superstar.” Amin says when the guys in the locker room say “F*** that guy,” it doesn't matter how good you are, it’s over.
Meanwhile, Greg Cote was on the show on Wednesday and Dan and the crew talked about Greg’s Baseball Hall of Fame ballot ...
Local Hour: Losing The Locker Room
- Amin Elhassan and Charlotte Wilder of Oddball are here with some big-time basketball news. And Greg Cote is back!!! Adrian Griffin is out in Milwaukee, and the reports suggest Doc Rivers may be in. We discuss the details and whether or not a coach can come back from losing the locker room. Also, Greg Cote explains his absence on Greg Cote Tuesday, and do Dan and Mike owe Jeremy an apology over yesterday’s Terry Rozier-Kyle Lowry discussion? Does Dan owe an apology to Greg? Amin, Charlotte, and Jeremy break down what Rozier’s addition to the Heat really means. Plus, David Samson offers his two cents on the Griffin firing as someone who also fired a coach mid-season.
The Big Suey: Friendship Day
- Is it time the show has its own Friendship Day? David Samson sticks around to share his thoughts on the Barbie Oscar Nominations controversy and the WWE-Netflix contract. Then, we discuss creating Greg Cote’s Garage Sale through E-Bayyyyyyyy as he cleans out his old office of stuff he refuses to throw away. Greg explains why he holds onto artifacts from his past as the crew encourages him to sell off his 1967 Encyclopedia, Super Bowl Credentials, and more. Plus, should the steroid taint have kept Gary Sheffield out of the Hall of Fame? Should Joe Mauer have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer? Can Dan and Chris squat in a catcher’s position?
Hour 1: An Earie Feeling
- Analytics! Who needs ‘em?! Dan also describes a new pet peeve involving Uber drivers. Then, Stavros Halkias proves Dan might be capable of interviewing a comedian somewhat well as he stops by to discuss his Ravens superfandom, why Americans should be anti-Kansas City Chiefs and Taylor Swift, how Colin Cowherd joined the dog whistle Mount Rushmore, and what the name of his original podcast was. Plus, we use Mike Ryan’s Earify to take a look through Greg Cote and Papi’s ears, and it’s...horrible. Just horrible. Like, truly horrible.
Hour 2: I Know Every Animal’s Blood
- Jessica has been waiting for Charlotte to arrive to discuss two very important topics: “Snow Cream” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s poltergeist. Then, Jon Stewart is back at The Daily Show, and our friendly neighborhood race lady Jemele Hill is here to discuss why she and her husband’s marriage could end in shambles over the Lions-49ers game this weekend. Plus, it’s time for everyone’s favorite game: AGAINST! THE! SPREAD! Also, Stephen A. Smith wants to debate Trump, and Greg wants to blow dry his ears.
Postgame Show: THE BUTLER DID IT
- Mike Ryan and the rest of the crew are devastated on behalf of Katie Nolan as she came SO close to winning the Celebrity Jeopardy! final.
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