Adrian Griffin Was Fired From the Milwaukee Bucks Because They're Chasing a Title

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Jan. 24 2024, Published 10:09 a.m. ET

Adrian Griffin during a game against the Golden State Warriors.
Source: Getty Images

Although the Milwaukee Bucks were sitting on one of the best records in the NBA at the time, Adrian Griffin was fired as the team's head coach in January 2024. Given the success the team has had this year, many wondered why Adrian might have been fired and who might be in line to replace him.

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There has certainly been plenty of speculation about why Adrian was fired, but here's everything we know about why the Bucks are about to bring in someone new as they start focusing on the post-season.

Adrian Griffin yelling during a game against the Indiana Pacers.
Source: Getty Images
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Why was Adrian Griffin fired from the Milwaukee Bucks?

According to reports in the aftermath of the firing, the problems between the Bucks and their new head coach started even before the season got underway. Adrian was brought in to replace Mike Bundenholzer, who had brought the team a championship in 2021, but had since fallen out of favor. The team also brought in Terry Stotts as an assistant coach, but he left before the season got underway.

That, combined with criticism from star player Giannis Antetokounmpo, meant that things got off to a stormy start at the beginning of the year.

The team had a 30-13 record when Adrian was fired and was tied for second-best in the league. The Bucks also have the league's second-highest-rated offense, but only its 22nd-best defense. More than any one issue though, reporting suggests that Adrian was fired because he wasn't connecting with the players and the team wasn't making progress.

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Giannis has been vocal about the issues with the team throughout the season. On Dec. 7, 2023, following a loss to the Indiana Pacers, Giannis said that the issues were organizational.

“The talent level we have is incredible. But we have to be more organized," he said. "I feel like sometimes we're not organized at all. We don't know what we try to get from our offense, or sometimes defensively we're not sprinting back.”

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The pressure is on the Bucks following a crucial trade.

Prior to the season, Giannis, who is widely considered to be one of the best players in the league, was making noise about the possibility of leaving Milwaukee. That prompted Milwaukee to make a drastic trade in an attempt to capitalize on their star while he is still in his prime. In trading for Damian Lillard, the Bucks gained a massive offensive weapon but lost some for the defense that had once made them so potent.

That trade also changed the incentive structure inside the organization, as it became even more important for the team to win now and cash in on the massive amount of talent they currently have on the roster. Both Giannis and Dame are under contract through at least the 2025-2026 season. They are among the highest-paid players in the league. Given that combination, ownership is hoping to win at least one more championship in that time, and clearly, they didn't believe that Adrian could get them there.

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