The Milwaukee Bucks will be entering the 2023-24 NBA season without their top assistant coach. Terry Stotts, who was hired by Adrian Griffin earlier this offseason, surprisingly and abruptly submitted his resignation and stepped down from his position.
After a few hours of speculation and reaction from fans, it was revealed that an incident occurred during practice between Coach Griffin and Stotts that may have led to his sudden resignation. In short, it sounds like Stotts was having difficulty following another head coach’s authority after spending nearly a decade as a head coach himself.
Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Adrian Griffin Addresses Terry Stotts’ Resignation
To his credit, Coach Griffin did not say anything about the tension between himself and Stotts when asked about the latter’s sudden resignation. He refused to go into Stotts’ motivation out of respect:
“It caught all of us off guard, of course, but again, you just support him. He was a terrific guy. I learned a lot from him in a very short time. He was really good at what he does. He made a decision –- a personal decision -– and we just have to respect that.
“It was Terry’s decision, and I respected that. We did have a great conversation. I can’t disclose what we spoke about out of respect for him, but again, we support him and we’re still excited about the season. We’ve got a great team, a great staff and life is good.”
For what it is worth, none of the players interviewed about Stotts’ departure, most notably Damian Lillard, seemed to think that this is a demoralizing loss. Unfortunate? Yes. But the goal of the team remains the same: win the NBA Championship.
Terry Stotts Would Have Been in His Third Stint as a Coach with the Milwaukee Bucks
Stotts’ first stint with the Bucks came when George Karl brought him with when he was hired as the team’s head coach in 1998. Stotts previously had been an assistant on Karl’s staff with the Seattle Supersonics.
In 2002, Stotts left Karl’s staff to join Lon Kruger’s coaching staff with the Atlanta Hawks. Kruger was fired 27 games into the season and Stotts was promoted to head coach. He held that position until 2004.
After spending 2004-2005 as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, Stotts was hired by the Bucks to be their head coach. He led Milwaukee to the NBA Playoffs in 2005-06, but otherwise had an unexemplary stint as head coach. He was fired before the season ended in 2007.
From 2008-2012, Stotts served as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, whom he won a NBA Championship with in 2011.
Stotts was then hired as the head coach of the Portland Trailblazers in 2012, a position he held until 2021. During his time with Portland, he led the team to the Western Conference Finals once and helped Lillard become the star player that he is today.
Prior to being hired by the Bucks this summer, Stotts had been out of coaching. After resigning, he said he has no plans to retire and wants to continue coaching somewhere.