Former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Eddie Johnson recently offered a spirited take to Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers planning to give up his All-Star Game ring and bonus to Adrian Griffin, the coach he replaced recently.
Ok, nice gesture, neat feel good reaction, but then when you look at the optics of all this. It makes me sick. A Griffin gets his first job and despite the struggle goes 30-13. D Lillard now goes public stating he has been depressed all year and Giannis is the GM and impatient!🤷🏾 https://t.co/TLORNXIv22
— Eddie A Johnson (@Jumpshot8) February 4, 2024
Rivers and his staff will coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the midseason classic due to the Bucks clinching the best record in the East through games played on Feb. 4 among teams with a head coach eligible for the game.
In a similar move, two Bucks assistant coaches have reportedly decided to not head to Indiana for the game. Dave Joerger and Rex Kalamian both joined the Bucks after Rivers joined the team.
As an extension of Doc Rivers’ All-Star Game decision, being told Milwaukee’s new assistants Dave Joerger and Rex Kalamian will also abstain from joining Bucks coaches in Indianapolis, as Adrian Griffin’s staff has earned the honor of representing the Eastern Conference.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) February 4, 2024
Joe Mazzulla is not eligible to coach in this year’s game as he coached in last year’s game. His Boston Celtics currently sit in first place in the East with a 37-12 record, while the Bucks are 33-16.
Griffin was fired in late January after leading the Bucks to a 30-13 record in his first season with the franchise. It came as a shock to much of the NBA world, but reports that came out in the wake of the firing made the move make more sense.
Bucks players had reportedly “completely tuned out” Griffin before he was let go. Griffin’s tenure as head coach lasted less than a year, as he joined the franchise back in June. Massive expectations got even bigger once the team traded for Damian Lillard prior to the regular season.
For what it’s worth, Lillard reportedly enjoyed playing under Griffin, according to ESPN’s Jamal Collier. Giannis Antetokounmpo said he was surprised by the firing.
“I’ve got to trust the front office, I’ve got to trust the ownership group that they consider the bigger picture,” Antetokounmpo said. “My job is to be the best version of myself, to lead this team out there and help win games.
“Their job is to create the best team possible and the best atmosphere around the team possible that they believe gives us a better chance to win a championship. But yeah, I do think [firing coach Griffin] was a surprise.”
Things seemed icy at times between Antetokounmpo and Griffin, but the Greek superstar said he “loved the guy.”
“I loved the guy,” said Antetokounmpo. “I invited him to my wedding. I was coached by him and we did very, very, very well. When somebody is being hired, the GM might come and ask, ‘What do you think about that? What do you think about this?’ or whatever and not just me — players, people that he trusts their advice. But at times, they make it seem like it’s the players that are making the decision.”
Johnson has never been shy about offering his opinion on different topics relating to the league, so his post on X shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to fans.
He’ll certainly continue to make his voice heard on the Bucks this season as they look to win another NBA title after winning one in 2021.
There are four days left until the league’s trade deadline (Feb. 8), and it seems like the Bucks are a team to keep a close eye on.