In a surprising turn of events, the reigning NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, have announced the appointment of Coach Doc Rivers to lead the team until the end of the 2026-27 season. This decision comes after the mid-season dismissal of Coach Adrian Griffin, despite his commendable performance and standing as the second-best team in the league.
Rivers, who took a brief hiatus from coaching, spent the past eight months away from an NBA coaching role, engaging with ESPN during his time off. The Bucks, known for their high aspirations, have secured Rivers with a new contract valued at $40 million, marking his return to the coaching realm.
The Bucks’ managerial shake-up is not a new occurrence, as this marks their second coaching change in less than nine months. Previously, Coach Mike Budenholzer was let go after the team’s elimination in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs by the Miami Heat.
The recent dismissal of Coach Adrian Griffin, who lasted only 43 games, stirred speculation about the reasons behind the decision. General Manager Jon Horst initially declined to comment on the matter, but on January 27th (Vietnam time), he addressed the situation, emphasizing the need for changes to optimize the team’s current roster and enhance on-court efficiency.
While rumors of locker room disagreements, particularly involving star players Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, were initially dismissed, the decline in defensive performance played a significant role in Griffin’s departure. The Bucks, once known for their robust defense, plummeted to 22nd in the league’s Defensive Rating this season.
With Doc Rivers at the helm, the Bucks hope to capitalize on his coaching expertise to optimize the offensive duo of Giannis and Lillard, while also shoring up their defensive capabilities. Acknowledging that mid-season coaching changes may not yield immediate results, General Manager Jon Horst expresses confidence in Rivers and believes there is sufficient time for the team to adapt and excel under his leadership.
“I believe the remaining season provides ample time for the team to establish a clear direction under Coach Rivers. Building cohesion in a short period won’t be simple, but the team’s strong belief in Coach Rivers will facilitate a rapid adaptation. I personally have faith that this collective effort can become exceptional and great,” stated Horst.