Insider Explains Why Adrian Griffin Firing Was Bucks’ ‘Biggest Move’

The Milwaukee Bucks made a major midseason shakeup when they fired Adrian Griffin halfway through his first season as head coach. Though they want to make other moves, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explained why firing Griffin may be their most impactful decision.

On Instagram’s Threads, one reader asked Wojnarowski how Griffin’s firing impacts the Bucks’ approach to the NBA Trade Deadline. Wojnarowski explained why the firing itself may be their most impactful decision of the 2023-24 season.

‘This was probably the biggest move the Bucks could make to impact winning the rest of the way this season. They are just very limited in the assets they have to use in deals,” Wojnarowski wrote.

The Bucks simply don’t have good assets to offer anyone because they’ve already given most of them away. Acquiring Jrue Holiday and then Damian Lillard stripped the Bucks of all their first-round picks.

The Bucks could offer one or more of their core rotation players, like Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and/or Brook Lopez. However, it may not be the wisest decision to trade one of them unless they are getting a better player.

How Damian Lillard Factored Into Adrian Griffin’s Firing

After news broke that the Bucks had fired Adrian Griffin, reports came out that the Damian Lillard trade pressured Griffin to thrive with the Bucks’ new point guard.

“While he had remained patient with coaches and teammates, there was an inevitable pressure on Griffin from the organization to make the most of Lillard’s talent in the kind of way that validates the choice to part ways with Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen and three first-round picks in order to land him,” The Athletic reported on January 23.

It added that Griffin’s failure to help Lillard and Antetokounmpo mesh together as a duo led his firing.

“For the season, Lillard’s usage rate of 26.9 is not only well below his final season in Portland (a career-high mark of 33.1) but well below Antetokounmpo’s rate of 32.2 that is third in the NBA (which is down from his league-leading mark of 37.3 last season),” The Athletic report read. “Griffin’s inability to create more on-court harmony among his best players on the offensive end remained a point of contention until Griffin’s end.”

New head coach Doc Rivers has a more accomplished rap sheet than Griffin does. However, while Doc may not face as much pressure to keep his job, he will face pressure to help the Bucks’ star duo develop chemistry.

Matisse Thybulle & Alex Caruso Among Bucks Targets

Following Adrian Griffin’s firing, Yahoo Sports! Jake Fischer reported who the Bucks may target next.

“The combined $12.5 million salary between Connaughton and Payne would put Milwaukee in position to land several targets, such as Portland wing Matisse Thybulle and Clippers forward P.J. Tucker, sources said. Alex Caruso would mark a dream outcome for the Bucks, but Chicago has indicated the Bulls would need multiple first-round picks to even consider parting with Caruso, according to league sources, if Chicago even truly considers moving him at all,” Fischer wrote in a January 24 story.

Following his firing, the Bucks will get to see if their defensive shortcomings were Griffin’s fault or their personnel.

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