The Bucks are 30-13 in their first season with Griffin at the helm and former Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard running the offense. The move comes after the team hired former Blazers coach Terry Stotts as an assistant coach this offseason, but he stepped down before the season began, citing disagreements with Griffin.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported back in October that Stotts’ resignation may stem from an incident with Griffin in practice this Tuesday:
According to sources who witnessed the events, Griffin wrapped up the shootaround and called the team together for a huddle to close out the day and let the players get to post-shootaround shooting drills. During that huddle, Griffin informed the coaches that he wanted to have a separate huddle with them once they wrapped things up.
When the players and coaches broke the huddle, Stotts went in the opposite direction of the coaches’ huddle and instead started walking toward players to discuss the offense. As Stotts attempted to start a conversation with Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Griffin called to Stotts to join the coaching huddle. When Stotts asked for some time with the players, Griffin yelled for Stotts to join the coaches’ huddle. The incident occurred in front of the entire team, those sources said.
While brief, the interaction highlighted the underlying complexity of the relationship between Griffin and Stotts in their first year together in Milwaukee. Around the situation on Thursday, there were two perspectives surrounding Stotts’ resignation: His potential difficulty adapting to a bench role under Griffin after more than a decade as a head coach, and the other being a certain treatment and level of respect that needed to be shown to someone with Stotts’ pedigree.
The Bucks visit the Blazers in Portland next Wednesday in Lillard’s first appearance at the Moda Center since being traded.