Adrian Griffin

Grizzlies Interviewed Raptors’ Griffin For Head Coaching Job

The Grizzlies recently interviewed Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin for their open head coaching position, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

A former NBA player, Griffin became an assistant coach immediately after his retirement in 2008, spending time with the Bucks, Bulls, Magic, and Thunder before joining Nick Nurse‘s staff in Toronto as the Raptors’ lead assistant last summer. He has long been considered a candidate to be a future NBA head coach.

While Memphis has played its cards close to the vest throughout the team’s head coaching search process, more names of potential targets have leaked as of late. Over the weekend, we learned that the Grizzlies had met with former Suns coach Igor Kokoskov, and a Monday report indicated that Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts would also interview for the job.

Previously, interviews with Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Warriors assistant Jarron Collins were reported. The Grizzlies were also said to have interest in Zalgiris Kaunas head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

The Grizzlies are the last NBA team still seeking a new head coach, so they can afford to take their time. Still, they’ll likely announce J.B. Bickerstaff‘s replacement well before the offseason gets underway in earnest with the draft and free agency period.

Larry Drew Unlikely To Coach Cavs Long-Term

The Cavaliers have begun searching for a permanent head coach for 2019/20 and beyond, and Larry Drew isn’t believed to be a serious candidate, according to a report from Joe Vardon and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. While Drew has served as Cleveland’s interim coach since Tyronn Lue‘s dismissal earlier this season, he’s unsure he’d want to return next season and doesn’t appear likely to be asked, per Vardon and Lloyd.

“I don’t know if I ever want to be a head coach again after this year,” said Drew, who has dealt with a constant stream of injuries since Lue’s ouster, guiding the Cavs to a 9-34 record.

According to Vardon and Lloyd, the Cavaliers will likely seek a first-time NBA head coach who has experience developing players and/or coaching in the G League. The club hasn’t yet begun reaching out to candidates or their agents, since the search is still in its infancy. However, The Athletic duo identifies six candidates who have ties to the Cavs or GM Koby Altman and could be fits. Those six candidates are:

  • Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez
  • Hornets assistant Steve Hetzel
  • Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin
  • Hawks assistant Chris Jent
  • Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley
  • Jazz assistant Alex Jensen

It’s not entirely clear whether Vardon and Lloyd are just speculating based on the criteria outlined by the Cavs and Altman’s history with those coaches, or if they have inside info on the club’s wish list. Either way, it seems safe to assume that at least a few of those assistants will receive consideration from Cleveland.

For now, Drew is still running the show and the 60-year-old coach admits that he’s happy Lue was let go early in the season — not because he wanted to supplant Lue, but because he believes the Cavs’ struggles this year would have been hard on the team’s former head coach, who battled stress and health issues last season.

“I wouldn’t want to see him go through this,” Drew said. “I wouldn’t want him to go through it from a physical and mental standpoint after some of the things that he went through. He deserves better after having won a championship. He deserves much, much better.”

When the Cavs initially replaced Lue with Drew, he resisted taking on the title of interim head coach until the team gave him a raise and a small financial guarantee for next season. Several months later, he still doesn’t sound like someone who wanted the job to begin with, as Vardon and Lloyd relay.

“I wasn’t looking to do this. I was not looking to do this at all,” Drew said. “But it happened. Ain’t a whole lot you can do about it.”

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Loyd, Nader, Knicks’ Plans

Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving fully expects to be ready for the start of training camp, Jeff Goodman of ESPN tweets. Irving told Goodman he hadn’t yet participated in a 5-on-5 full contact scrimmage but he has been working out with his trainer. He underwent a surgical procedure on his left knee in early April in which he had two screws removed. At that time, the team provided a projected recovery time of four to five months.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Combo guard Jordan Loyd is finalizing a buyout agreement with Turkish club Darussafaka, which will allow him to sign a two-way contract with the Raptors, Sportando reports. Loyd, who played with the Raptors’ summer-league squad, spent last season in Israel after playing the previous season in the G League. The 6’4” Loyd made a strong impression on Toronto’s brass while mostly playing the point in Las Vegas, leading to the contract offer.
  • The Celtics will pay the Thunder $450K before December 2nd as part of the Abdel Nader trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Celtics, who will get a trade exception at the same amount, will essentially be paying the guaranteed portion of Nader’s contract, Pincus notes. The swingman, who was on the verge of being waived, was dealt to OKC for guard Rodney Purvis.
  • The current Knicks’ front office is not fully committed to signing two top-level free agents next summer and that could be a good thing, as Sean Deveney of the Sporting News explains. The Knicks would have to clear a lot of cap space to get into that position and would likely have to give up a lottery pick to move a bad contract, Deveney continues. With a young core that includes Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, dumping a high pick to improve their free-agent market prospects sounds unwise, Deveney adds.
  • The Raptors have officially added Adrian Griffin, Sergio Scariolo, Nate Bjorkgren and Phil Handy to Nick Nurse’s coaching staff, the team’s media relations department tweets.

Adrian Griffin Reaches Agreement To Join Raptors’ Staff

Thunder assistant coach Adrian Griffin has agreed to join the Raptors’ staff as the lead assistant to new head coach Nick Nurse, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports.

Griffin served as an assistant to Billy Donovan the past two seasons. Griffin, who had a nine-year playing career, has also coached with the Bucks, Bulls and Magic.

Griffin interviewed for head coaching openings with the Rockets and Magic prior to joining Donovan’s staff.

Nurse, Vanterpool Top List Of Rising Head Coach Candidates

No NBA head coaches were replaced during the 2017 offseason, but that’s very unlikely to be the case for 2018. Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post and Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports suggest that as many as 10 or 11 teams could be on the lookout for a new head coach this offseason.

That list of teams includes three teams with interim head coaches – the Suns, Grizzlies, and Bucks – as well as lottery teams like the Knicks, Magic, Pistons, Hornets, and Hawks. Playoff contenders like the Nuggets and Clippers could also consider a change, particularly if they miss out on the postseason.

Not all of those teams will replace their current head coaches, but there should be a good deal of turnover in the NBA’s coaching ranks this spring. That could open up the door for assistant coaches or G League head coaches who haven’t yet had the opportunity to run their own NBA squads to interview for those jobs in the coming weeks.

With that in mind, Mannix spoke to over three dozen “high-ranking team executives,” getting each of those execs to name two assistants they view as viable head coaching candidates. Mannix’s only criteria? The executives polled couldn’t name assistants from their own staffs, and the assistants named couldn’t have any NBA or major-college head coaching experience already.

Here are the top vote-getters in Mannix’s poll, all of whom were mentioned by at least three different executives:

  1. Nick Nurse (Raptors assistant)
  2. David Vanterpool (Trail Blazers assistant)
  3. Igor Kokoskov (Jazz assistant)
  4. Stephen Silas (Hornets associate head coach)
  5. Adrian Griffin (Thunder assistant)
  6. Nate Tibbetts (Trail Blazers assistant)
  7. Chris Finch (Pelicans assistant)
  8. Jerry Stackhouse (Raptors 905 head coach)
  9. Ryan Saunders (Timberwolves assistant)
  10. Jay Larranaga (Celtics assistant)

Of course, not every team seeking a new head coach in the offseason will be eyeing candidates in this pool. Some clubs will want a candidate with previous head coaching experience, and there should be no shortage of those — Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, David Blatt, David Fizdale, and Monty Williams are among the veteran coaches who have been linked to various teams already. Other clubs may target a coach from the NCAA pool, such as Villanova’s Jay Wright.

Still, the NBA assistants listed above are viewed around the league as future head coaching candidates, and are the names to keep an eye on if your favorite team is considering a change on its bench.

Latest On Kidd, Bucks’ Coaching Job

Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale is considered the early favorite to get the Bucks job after this season but there are some other viable candidates, according to Hoops Hype’s Bryan Kalbrosky.

Milwaukee fired Jason Kidd on Monday and replaced him on an interim basis with lead assistant Joe Prunty. Fizdale was fired in late November, in part because of a strained relationship with the team’s star, Marc Gasol.

Former Pelicans coach Monty Williams, Raptors G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse, Hawks assistant Darvin Ham, Thunder assistant Adrian Griffin, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell and Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka are some of the other candidates that Milwaukee may consider, Kalbrosky adds.

Here are some nuggets regarding Kidd and the Bucks job:

  • Bucks franchise player Giannis Antetokounmpo offered to help Kidd save his job, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweets. Kidd and the All-Star starter spoke 15 minutes before Kidd was officially notified he’d been fired, Shelburne adds.
  • Milwaukee’s front office had been mulling over a coaching change for at least two weeks, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports.
  • Williams, who has been working in the Spurs’ front office, has been patiently waiting for another opportunity and is a name to remember, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.
  • Kidd leaves with no regrets and added “we took an organization that was in a bad place and shined a light on it,” according to another Shelburne tweet.
  • Tensions between Kidd and the front office had been building for months, according to the Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps. There was friction between Kidd and forward Jabari Parker, Bontemps continues. Kidd also rubbed management the wrong way by lobbying for roster changes and harping on the lack on experience among the front office staff, Bontemps adds.
  • Jeff Van Gundy and Rick Pitino are two other candidates the Bucks might consider, Forbes’ Mitch Lawrence reports. However, the organization does not have a stellar reputation and potential replacements for Kidd will likely want to know who’s calling the shots on personnel, Lawrence adds.

And-Ones: Turner, Whiteside, Parsons, Rubio

In an interesting interview with Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Evan Turner explained how he ended up reaching an agreement with the Trail Blazers earlier today, expressing confidence that he’ll be a great fit in Portland. Turner suggested that he’d “play in Boston every single day of the week” if all other factors were equal, but the Celtics would have only have offered him about half what the Blazers did, and the C’s likely would’ve reduced his role as well.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Hassan Whiteside‘s max salary isn’t set in stone yet, according to Ethan J. Skolnick of The Miami Herald, who tweets that the young center would be willing to take a little less if Kevin Durant wants to sign with the Heat.
  • Chandler Parsons called his decision to sign with the Grizzlies the toughest of his life, calling Portland “incredible” and citing Memphis’ coaching staff as a major factor in his choice. Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com has the quotes from Parsons.
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press is skeptical that the Timberwolves will trade Ricky Rubio this summer, tweeting that head coach Tom Thibodeau wants to work with the point guard. Krawczynski expects Rubio to be on Minnesota’s roster when training camp rolls around.
  • Dubbed last week as the favorites to reach a deal with Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez, the Nets are are still trying to get a deal done with Rodriguez, but sources tell Mike Mazzeo and Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that an agreement looks “unlikely.”
  • The Thunder issued a press release today confirming the hiring of Adrian Griffin as an assistant on Billy Donovan‘s staff, as was reported last month. Vin Bhavnani and former NBA guard Royal Ivey also received promotions and are now assistant coaches, per the team.

Northwest Notes: Burks, Griffin, Nori

Jazz combo guard Alec Burks underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to clean out debris in his left knee and ankle, the team announced. The 24-year-old is expected to be recovered in time for the start of training camp after averaging 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in just 31 appearances this season. Burks, who still has three years and approximately $32.53MM remaining on the extension he inked in 2014, has struggled with injuries during his brief NBA career, also missing 55 games in 2014/15 due to shoulder woes.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder intend to hire Adrian Griffin as lead assistant to replace the departed Monty Williams on coach Billy Donovan‘s staff, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports. Griffin served as an assistant coach on Scott Skiles‘ staff in Orlando this past season and was under consideration by the Magic to replace Skiles before Frank Vogel nabbed the post.
  • Timberwolves coach/executive Tom Thibodeau was interested in adding Griffin to his staff but Oklahoma City was financially aggressive in its offer to the assistant, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN relays (Twitter links). Griffin also met with Vogel, who was interested in keeping the coach in Orlando, Wolfson adds.
  • In other coaching news, the Nuggets have elevated Micah Nori to an assistant coach on Michael Malone‘s staff, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays (Twitter link). Nori replaces Chris Fleming, who departed to joing the Nets’ coaching staff.
  • The Jazz released the full roster of participants at the free agent mini-camp they are holding this week and some notable attendees include Adonis Thomas, Greg Stiemsma, C.J. Fair and Jordan Bachynski.
  • The Nuggets hosted a private workout today for former Marquette big man Henry Ellenson, the team announced.

Griffin Interviews For Rockets Coaching Job

The Rockets are interviewing Magic assistant coach Adrian Griffin for their head coaching job today, Mark Berman of Fox26 tweets. “Very special,” Griffin told Berman when he arrived for the interview. “I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.”

The 41-year-old Griffin, Scott Skiles’ lead assistant in Orlando, also interviewed for the Magic job before the franchise decided to hire Frank Vogel.

Before joining the Magic last summer, Griffin spent several years in Chicago as an assistant coach on Tom Thibodeau‘s staff. He also reportedly interviewed with the Blazers in 2012, the Pistons and twice with the Sixers in 2013, and the Jazz twice as well as the Cavs in 2014.

Spurs assistant coach James Borrego is also expected to be interviewed on Monday, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported this weekend. Griffin and Borrego will apparently have an uphill climb to get the job. The Rockets reportedly whittled down the prospective candidates to Sixers assistant coach Mike D’Antoni and Hornets assistant coach Stephen Silas prior to those interviews.

The process toward hiring a new coach has been long-winded, with plenty of big names popping up along the way. New Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, former Cavs coach David Blatt, Raptors assistant coach Rex Kalamian‎, Grizzlies assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik, San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, TNT analyst Kenny Smith, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell, current Rockets assistant Chris Finch and ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy were also linked to the opening at one time or another.

Rockets Coaching Rumors: Saturday

11:23am: Houston also intends to interview Magic assistant coach Adrian Griffin, Mark Berman of FOX 26 reports (via Twitter).

9:00am: The Rockets’ search for a new head coach continues and the latest candidate to join the process is Spurs assistant coach James Borrego, who has an interview scheduled with the team on Monday, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports. Houston had reportedly whittled down the prospective candidates to Sixers assistant coach Mike D’Antoni and Hornets assistant coach Stephen Silas, but apparently the team intends to cast an even wider net in its search by adding Borrego to the mix.

The Spurs assistant will be the 11th known candidate to interview for the Rockets’ opening, joining D’Antoni. Silas, new Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, former Cavs coach David Blatt, Raptors assistant coach Rex Kalamian‎, Grizzlies assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik, San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, TNT analyst Kenny Smith, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell and current Rockets assistant Chris Finch, Stein notes. Jeff Van Gundy reportedly received strong support from GM Daryl Morey for the job, but team owner Leslie Alexander could not be sold on a reunion with the former coach.

Borrego is reportedly a finalist for the Grizzlies vacant head coaching post as well, having impressed team officials during his interview. He previously spent 30 games as interim head coach in Orlando during the 2014/15 campaign before joining the Spurs at the start of this season. The Magic went 10-20 under Borrego during his brief tenure.