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Doc Rivers gaining steam to become Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach after Adrian Griffin firing

Doc Rivers to the Milwaukee Bucks is gaining serious steam, with one report saying he’s already agreed to become their next head coach.

Rivers, who won a championship in 2008 with the Boston Celtics, would be replacing Adrian Griffin, whom the Bucks fired only 43 games into his tenure.

CNN reported Rivers, 62, accepted Milwaukee’s offer, while ESPN reported he and the Bucks are in discussions about the job and that he is their top choice.

Led by two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and offseason-acquisition Damian Lillard, the Bucks entered Wednesday with a 30-13 record but were among the league’s worst defensive teams.

Rivers has also coached the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers and, most recently, the Philadelphia 76ers, who fired him last May after he posted a 236-154 record over three regular seasons but failed to reach an Eastern Conference Finals.

“He does have championship experience,” Shaquille O’Neal, who played for Rivers’ Celtics in 2010-11, said on “NBA on TNT,” reacting to the CNN report.

“He does have experience with dealing with large-name individuals, superstars, Dame Lillard and Giannis, and he does have experience with being a defensive-minded coach. … I’m happy for Doc,” O’Neal said. “He gets a chance to get another one, because for so long, he’s just been surviving off that one championship, so I would like to see him get another one.”

The 49-year-old Griffin, a longtime assistant and first-year head coach, took the Bucks job last offseason after the team fired Mike Budenholzer following an upset loss to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Budenholzer went 271-120 over five regular seasons with Milwaukee and won a championship in 2021.

In a brief statement Tuesday night, the Bucks described firing Griffin as “a difficult decision” and acknowledged it was searching for a full-time head coach. Joe Prunty was named the interim head coach, as he was in 2018 after the Bucks fired Jason Kidd.

Under Griffin, the Bucks surrendered 120.5 points per game, which ranked 25th in the NBA. Milwaukee allowed 113.3 points per game last season.

Griffin’s .698 winning percentage is the best by a head coach to be fired midseason since the Cleveland Cavaliers dumped David Blatt at 30-11 in 2015-16. The Bucks currently sit second in the Eastern Conference behind the Celtics.

“I appreciate the opportunity the Bucks gave me,” Griffin told Bleacher Report. “You can’t control everything. I feel good about the job we did.”