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Milwaukee Bucks pass on hiring Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as head coach

The Bucks are hiring Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin to lead Giannis and co.

Kenny Atkinson 2023 NBA Playoffs - Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will not be leading the charge for the Milwaukee Bucks. According to a recent report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks intend to hire Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin to replace Mike Budenholzer as the team’s head coach. Atkinson was a finalist for the job but appears to have been passed over.

Atkinson joined Warriors Steve Kerr’s coaching staff prior to the 2021-22 season and took over Mike Brown’s defensive scheme duties after Brown became the Sacramento Kings head coach prior to the 2022-23 season. Granted, the most notable portion of Atkinson’s resume was working as the Brooklyn Nets head coach from 2016-2020, helping the team rebuild from an ugly situation that culminated in reaching the playoffs after his third season. However, Atkinson resigned in the middle of his fourth season after growing tension between him and recent acquisitions Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

After resigning in Brooklyn, Atkinson spent one year as an assistant on Ty Lue’s Los Angeles Clippers staff before joining the Warriors. Prior to his head coaching stint with the Nets, Atkinson had worked as an assistant coach internationally and with the Knicks and Hawks.

Griffin played in the NBA from 1999-2008 and immediately shifted to coaching when he retired as a player. His first job as an assistant was actually with the Bucks from 2008-2010. He then spent five seasons on the Bulls staff before short stints with the Magic, Thunder, and Raptors. Griffin was hired as Toronto’s lead assistant in 2018 and is largely credited for several adjustments and game plans that helped the Raptors win the 2019 NBA championship.

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