Adrian Griffin

Jazz Notes: Quinn, Griffin, Young, Gobert, Can, More

The Jazz have requested permission to interview three more assistant coaches from around the NBA as they seek a replacement for Quin Snyder, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). According to Wojnarowski, the team is also planning to meet with Heat assistant Chris Quinn, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, and Suns assistant Kevin Young.

Griffin and Young were previously identified by The Athletic as head coaching candidates on Utah’s preliminary list, but this is the first time we’ve heard Quinn linked to the club. Quinn, Griffin, and Young will join eight other candidates who are reportedly expected to interview with the Jazz, bringing the total count to 11 — and that number could continue to grow.

The full list of Utah’s reported candidates can be found at our head coaching search tracker.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Based on his conversations with people around the NBA, Ian Begley of SNY.tv (video link) gets the sense that Snyder’s exit from Utah will impact Rudy Gobert‘s future with the Jazz more than Donovan Mitchell‘s, making it more likely that Gobert is moved. Multiple recent reports have suggested that the Jazz are open to discussing Gobert, but have shut down trade inquiries on Mitchell.
  • In a story for SNY.tv, Begley stresses that the support for Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant within the Jazz organization goes beyond Mitchell. Bryant, a candidate for Utah’s head coaching job, is known to be close with Mitchell, but built plenty of other strong relationships during his time as a Jazz assistant from 2014-20.
  • Jazz assistant Erdem Can has reached an agreement to join Turkish club Türk Telekom, according to a report from Ugur Ozan Sulak of Socrates (Twitter link). Can was an assistant with Fenerbahçe from 2012-21 before joining Snyder’s staff for the ’21/22 season. He reportedly received a two-year deal from Türk Telekom, with an NBA out after year one.
  • Koby McEwen (Weber State), Noah Kirkwood (Harvard), Au’Diese Toney (Arkansas), and Amadou Sow (UC-Santa Barbara) are among the prospects who participated in a pre-draft workout with the Jazz on Tuesday, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. As previously reported, Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and BYU’s Alex Barcello also took part in that session.

Jazz Rumors: Mitchell, Gobert, Bogdanovic, Coaching Search

The Jazz are expected to be aggressive on the trade market this offseason, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic, who hears from sources that the club has no plans to pivot to a rebuild following Quin Snyder‘s departure and continues to view itself as a perennial playoff team working toward title contention.

Marc Berman of The New York Post cites league sources who believe that Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will eventually request a trade, but Berman acknowledges those sources don’t necessarily expect it to happen this offseason. Multiple teams have called Utah to inquire about Mitchell’s availability, sources tell Jones, but the Jazz have responded with a “firm no” and have made it clear they intend to build around the three-time All-Star.

[RELATED: Donovan Mitchell Reportedly “Unsettled” Following Snyder’s Departure]

While the Jazz apparently have no intention of moving Mitchell, virtually anyone else on the roster could probably be had in the right deal, Jones writes. Sources tell The Athletic that All-Star center Rudy Gobert and forward Bojan Bogdanovic are two players who have drawn “significant” interest from potential suitors.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Utah wants its next head coach to “command buy-in and respect” from the players, including Mitchell, according to Jones. Most of the candidates on the Jazz’s preliminary list are highly regarded for their player development skills and defensive acumen, Jones adds.
  • In Jones’ view, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin is one head coaching candidate to keep an eye on, since he was a finalist in Utah’s previous coaching search that led to the hiring of Snyder. Former Jazz assistant and current Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant is also worth watching due to his close relationship with Mitchell and his ability to develop talent, says Jones.
  • Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune takes a deeper dive into ESPN’s report on Mitchell being “unsettled” and “unnerved” by Snyder’s exit, explaining why he believes the Jazz star is trying to send a message to the organization with the leak.

Jazz To Consider Stotts, Jensen, Others For Coaching Job

The Jazz have identified some initial candidates for the team’s vacant head coaching job, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Former Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen, Celtics assistant Will Hardy, Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin will all be considered for the position.

In addition, the Jazz are also expected to consider Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Suns assistant Kevin Young, per Charania and The Athletic’s Tony Jones (Twitter link).

Charania mentioned those coaches are among the initial list of candidates, so more names may be added in the coming days. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported (via Twitter), Utah is immediately launching a head coaching search in wake of Quin Snyder‘s decision to step down.

The Jazz are coming off a 49-33 season. The team lost in six games to the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, ending an inconsistent campaign. Despite making the playoffs six straight years, the team hasn’t been able to advance past the second round.

Utah is one of two teams that currently don’t have a head coach. The other is the Hornets, who are reportedly nearing a decision on their search.

Darvin Ham Leading Candidate To Become New Lakers Coach?

Sources tell Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic that Bucks assistant Darvin Ham has made the “strongest impression” on Lakers brass thus far in interviews, and appears to be the leading candidate for the head coaching job.

As we relayed earlier today, Ham, Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts are reportedly finalists for the position.

Los Angeles’ leadership is looking for a coach “who can command respect and authority from the locker room” while maintaining a strong voice and presence in order to manage the differing personalities throughout team’s roster. Ham’s “no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players” has impressed the Lakers to this point, according to Charania and Amick.

They aren’t listed as finalists, but Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin haven’t been eliminated from consideration yet. However, former Warriors coach Mark Jackson is no longer a candidate, per The Athletic’s duo.

Here’s more on the Lakers’ coaching search, courtesy of Charania and Amick:

  • Owner Jeanie Buss will meet the finalists during their in-person interviews, which will occur soon. She has not been involved in the process to this point.
  • The team’s search committee is headed by VP of basketball operations and GM Rob Pelinka, and it will make the final decision on who’s hired. Buss plans to defer to the committee’s recommendation. Magic Johnson and Phil Jackson, who are reportedly advising Buss despite not having official roles, are not part of the search committee. LeBron James isn’t on it either — only Lakers officials are.
  • After a disappointing season and lots of turmoil surrounding the franchise over the past few years, including the poorly executed firing of former head coach Frank Vogel, Buss “is determined to assuage any and all of the finalists’ concerns about the organization” as the team concludes its search, says Charania and Amick. She plans to deliver a message centered on providing the necessary resources and support for the Lakers to be successful going forward.
  • The team is still operating as though Russell Westbrook will be on the roster next season, which is why the coaching candidates have been asked how they’d use him. Assuming the Lakers are unable to find a trade for Westbrook, which would undoubtedly be difficult given his enormous ($47MM) player option and declining play, releasing him isn’t considered a viable alternative, nor is having him away from the team, like the Rockets did with John Wall this past season, per Charania and Amick.
  • However, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article that he remains skeptical Westbrook will be on the roster in 2022/23. Stein notes that while the team is reluctant to part with future first-round picks to grease the wheels on a Westbrook deal, creating a “fresh-start atmosphere” for next season will be very difficult if he’s still on the Lakers.

Lakers To Interview Raptors Assistant Adrian Griffin

The Lakers have requested permission to interview Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin for their head coaching vacancy, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link).

Raptors president and chairman Masai Ujiri said at his end-of-season press conference yesterday that he has been receiving calls for interviews with Griffin and other Raptors assistant coaches, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link).

I think Adrian is right there on the cusp of becoming a head coach in this league,” Ujiri said.

Griffin started his NBA career as a player, appearing in 477 games (179 starts) across nine NBA seasons from 1999-2008 with career averages of 4.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 16.9 minutes. He made a quick transition to coaching, getting his start at just 34 years of age, the season after he retired as a player (2008/09).

Griffin, now 47, has been an assistant coach with the Bucks, Bulls, Magic, Thunder and Raptors over the past 14 seasons, having been with Toronto since 2018/19, when the team won the championship. Griffin’s son, AJ Griffin, is a projected lottery pick in the upcoming 2022 draft.

The Lakers were rumored to be interested in Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, but both Nurse and Ujiri recently poured cold water on that idea. Griffin is now the second official candidate interviewing for the Lakers lead coaching job, following Bucks assistant Darvin Ham.

In case you missed it, you can keep track of all the ongoing head coaching searches here.

Windhorst’s Latest: Coaching Rumors

The Pacers have interviewed more than 20 candidates for their head coaching opening and are now scheduling second interviews, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Appearing on The Jump (video link) on Friday, Windhorst said that former Kings coach Dave Joerger, Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and 76ers assistant Ime Udoka are among the candidates expected to receive second interviews with the Pacers. ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups is also in the mix.

Windhorst doled out a number of other tidbits regarding coaching vacancies:

  • The Sixers have focused in on two high-profile candidates, Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue, and that could impact what the Pelicans will do. New Orleans is “very interested” in Clippers assistant Lue, who won a championship in Cleveland with current Pelicans executive David Griffin. However, the Pelicans may have to wait until Philadelphia decides what it wants to do before pursuing Lue in earnest.
  • The Thunder appear to be going into rebuild mode and that increases the chances it will hire a first-time head coach. Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool, Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin and perhaps Spurs assistant Will Hardy have emerged as contenders for the job.
  • As previously reported, the Rockets are looking seriously at Clippers assistant and former Houston player Sam Cassell and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Central Notes: Bulls, Boylen, Wood, Pistons, Turner

Speaking to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago following his recent dismissal, former Bulls head coach Jim Boylen expressed no hard feelings toward his old team, telling Johnson that he “loved every minute of working for the Bulls” and that he understands why new head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas would want to bring in his own coach.

Boylen also expressed no regrets about his stint in Chicago, noting that Bulls ownership and former head of basketball ops John Paxson asked him to “bring more discipline” to the team. Boylen praised his players for competing hard, citing injuries and a young roster as a couple of the reasons why the club didn’t win more games.

“I don’t worry about people who haven’t coached critiquing me,” Boylen said. “I don’t try to be a doctor.”

Despite Boylen’s comments, reviews of his time with the Bulls weren’t exactly positive. According to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, who took a deep dive into the last two seasons in Chicago, Boylen’s tenure was described by multiple people within the organization as “toxic,” with one calling it “a circus” and another referring to it as a “nightmare.”

In Mayberry’s view, Boylen tried to maintain total control of the team with a tough, abrasive style, but “couldn’t get out of his own way.” Boylen’s greatest success during his time as the Bulls’ head coach, according to Mayberry, was “simply getting the job.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago explores which candidates for the Bulls‘ head coaching job are favored by oddsmakers, pointing out that one prominent sportsbook lists Ime Udoka, Adrian Griffin, Kenny Atkinson, and Tyronn Lue as the frontrunners.
  • The Pistons have more options with Christian Wood this fall than simply re-signing him or letting him walk, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic, who digs into how the team could use a sign-and-trade deal to its advantage if Wood wants to join a team without cap room.
  • The rebuilding Pistons should keep a close eye on players coming off two-way contracts, writes Duncan Smith of Forbes. As Forbes explains, under-the-radar free agents like Chris Chiozza are realistic targets for Detroit and could help the club make the most of its cap space.
  • Pacers big man Myles Turner recently spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype about life on the Disney World campus, Indiana’s playoff outlook, Victor Oladipo‘s 2021 free agency, and several other topics.

Bulls Fire Head Coach Jim Boylen

The Bulls have parted ways with head coach Jim Boylen, announcing today in a press release that he has been relieved of his duties. A search for the team’s next head coach will begin immediately, according to the release.

“After doing a comprehensive evaluation and giving the process the time it deserved, I ultimately decided that a fresh approach and evolution in leadership was necessary,” new executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in a statement. “This was a very difficult decision, but it is time for our franchise to take that next step as we move in a new direction and era of Chicago Bulls basketball.”

Boylen, who took the reins from Fred Hoiberg during the 2018/19 season, led the Bulls to an underwhelming 39-84 (.317) record during his brief tenure as head coach and didn’t always see eye-to-eye with his players, including standout guard Zach LaVine.

When Karnisovas took over as Chicago’s new head of basketball operations in the spring, he indicated that he wanted to take some time to evaluate Boylen, though he hasn’t had many opportunities to do so in recent months. The Bulls weren’t invited to the NBA’s 22-team restart in Orlando, and still haven’t approved organized practices or scrimmages for the eight teams left out, leaving those clubs to conduct individual workouts this summer.

Reports dating back to May have suggested that Karnisovas and new GM Marc Eversley were leaning toward making a change, but more recent reports cast doubt on that plan, suggesting that financial factors could motivate the team to stick with Boylen. Given today’s news, it appears Bulls ownership is on board with eating the remainder of Boylen’s modest contract.

Sixers assistant Ime Udoka and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin have previously been cited as possible candidates to become the Bulls’ next head coach. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) adds a few more names to that list of potential targets, suggesting that Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, and former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson are expected to receive consideration as well.

Chicago will be the second team to conduct a formal head coaching search in 2020, joining the Knicks, who hired Tom Thibodeau last month. The Nets also intend to launch a search for a permanent head coach when their season ends, with the Rockets, Pelicans, and Sixers among the other teams worth keeping an eye on.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raptors’ Adrian Griffin Denies Domestic Abuse Allegations

Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin has vehemently denied allegations of domestic abuse made by his former wife Audrey Griffin on social media.

Audrey posted a message on Thursday morning accusing the Raptors assistant of a number of abuses, including choking her, throwing her into a wall, and dragging her out of the house in below-freezing weather. In her post, she claimed she had “receipts for everything.”

Griffin and the Raptors issued statements this afternoon in response to those accusations, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic relays (via Twitter).

“This morning, accusations were made against me on social media by my former wife that I vehemently deny,” Griffin said. “We are involved in a longstanding legal dispute over alimony and child support arrangements. I am disappointed to have to address false accusations in this way, and I apologize for any distraction this has potentially caused for our team at this important time.”

The Raptors indicated that they were “dismayed” by the allegations and immediately spoke to Griffin, who flatly denied them. “We will support the process as he and his former partner settle these matters,” the team said in its statement.

Griffin, who has interviewed for head coaching jobs in the past and was considered a potential Bulls candidate if they moved on from Jim Boylen, assumed temporary head coaching duties for the Raptors on Wednesday night, with Nick Nurse giving him an opportunity to take the reins. After leading the team to a 125-121 win over Philadelphia, Griffin said he “felt like Cinderella,” as Andrew Lopez of ESPN details.

Growing Momentum For Jim Boylen To Keep Job?

There appears to be strong growing momentum for Bulls head coach Jim Boylen to retain his current position, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, who reports that financial considerations are expected to play a key role in the decision.

Nearly three months ago, Cowley reported that new Bulls executives Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley were believed to be leaning toward making a head coaching change after receiving a “mixed bag” of feedback on Boylen from Bulls players. Cowley writes today that the team’s top basketball operations execs had even reached out through back-channels to potential candidates such as Sixers assistant Ime Udoka and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.

However, the Bulls’ financial landscape has changed over the last few months. Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who doesn’t have a reputation for aggressive spending, has claimed that financial losses for the Bulls and his Chicago White Sox are “in the nine figures.” There’s also ongoing uncertainty about what the 2020/21 NBA season will look like and how the coronavirus pandemic may continue to impact team and league revenues.

Although he cautions that the situation is fluid, Cowley suggests that the Bulls’ financial situation has greatly increased the chances of Boylen’s return. It doesn’t help matters that there are still no plans in place to have the NBA’s bottom eight teams conduct some form of organized offseason activites. Karnisovas has previously spoken about wanting to evaluate Boylen in such a setting, but he may not get an opportunity to do so.

ESPN reported last month that the financial strain caused by the pandemic may make teams around the league less inclined to change coaches this offseason, so the latest update on Boylen doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

Still, as Cowley rightly points out (via Twitter), it’s not as if replacing Boylen with a first-time coach like Udoka or Griffin would be exorbitantly costly for the franchise, at least in relative terms. Boylen is making just $1.6MM and a first-time coach could potentially be hired for a salary in the $2.5MM range. The league’s highest-paid coaches – Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich – are reportedly earning $10MM+ per year.