The Milwaukee Bucks will be entering the 2023-24 season without one of their top assistant coaches. Terry Stotts, who was a previous assistant coach with the Bucks under George Karl and the team’s head coach from 2005-2007, decided to resign ahead of the team’s final preseason game.
Stotts was hired by new head coach Adrian Griffin this offseason to help run the offense. Griffin, a young rookie head coach who is known for his defensive mind, hoped that the 65-year old Stotts, a more offensive-minded coach, would be a good compliment to him.
That hope, however, never materialized. When the news broke on social media on Thursday, many Bucks fans were surprised and dismayed by the sudden turn of events. Stotts’ hire earlier this year had been met with a great deal of fanfare and optimism. His departure with the regular season just a week away seemed to signify that things are not good within the organization.
NBA Insider Reveals There Was Tension Between Milwaukee Bucks Coaches Adrian Griffin and Terry Stotts
Earlier this evening, Shams Charania of The Athletic published a story told to him from a league insider that detailed an incident that took place between Coach Griffin and Stotts:
“When the players and coaches broke the huddle, Stotts went in the opposite direction of the coaches’ huddle and instead started walking toward players to discuss the offense. As Stotts attempted to start a conversation with Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Griffin called to Stotts to join the coaching huddle. When Stotts asked for some time with the players, Griffin yelled for Stotts to join the coaches’ huddle. The incident occurred in front of the entire team, those sources said.”
Charania goes onto to report that other sources say the incident may have led to Stotts’ resignation for one of two reasons. First, he did not appreciate being yelled at by Griffin in front of the players and thought a coach with his experience deserved better treatment. Second, he did not feel like he would be a good assistant coach after nearly a decade as the head coach of the Portland Trailblazers.
Should There Be Blame Placed on Either Terry Stotts or Adrian Griffin?
While the temptation may be to blame one coach or the other for this unfortunate development, what it comes down to is that they had two very different personalities that did not work well together. They had never been on the same staff before, so it is understandable that they would not have known just how drastic a difference there would be.
Furthermore, it is fortunate for the Bucks organization that Stotts decided to step down now instead of dragging out a potential problem into the regular season. A team with Championship aspirations cannot afford any infighting or distractions. Stotts must have realized this and understood his own limitations to get along with Coach Griffin.
While it may not seem so at the moment, the decision was what best for the team in the long run.