Bucks reportedly narrow down head coaching search

Milwaukee’s search for a head coach has reportedly been trimmed down to three names.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks’ search has zeroed in on former Toronto coach Nick Nurse, Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson and Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin.

Nurse is a sought after candidate following his decade-long run with the Raptors, including five years as head coach. He experienced success throughout his tenure with Toronto, especially in his first two seasons leading the team. The 55-year-old was on the bench for the franchise’s first NBA title in 2019 with Kawhi Leonard as the headliner and returned to the conference semifinals the following year despite losing Leonard. For his efforts, he was named the 2020 NBA Coach of the Year. But the last three years did not go the way the team wanted, as the Raptors missed the playoffs twice and got bounced in the first round the year they did make it.

The 55-year-old Atkinson started his coaching career as an assistant with the New York Knicks in 2008. Four years later he was hired by former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta, where he spent another four seasons. He then got a chance to lead his own team in Brooklyn, where he went 118-190 (.383), leading the Nets to the playoffs in his third season before being fired in 2020. Atkinson joined the LA Clippers as an assistant in 2021 before landing with the Warriors, where he was part of a championship-winning team in 2022.

Griffin served under Nurse for the last five seasons but has been an assistant in the league since 2008 when he got his start with the Bucks with Scott Skiles. An NBA veteran that played for five teams over nine years, Griffin work as an assistant also included stops in Chicago, Orlando and Oklahoma City. The 48-year-old has been mentioned for several other head coaching vacancies this offseason.

Milwaukee is looking for a replacement for Mike Budenholzer, who was fired after five seasons.