Whether fans like it or not, superstar players having a say in a franchise's decision-making process is a just part of doing business in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo exercised that privilege in the Milwaukee Bucks' head coaching search when he endorsed Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin for the job, according to The Athletic staff.
The favorite Nick Nurse dropped out of the race, leaving Griffin and Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson to vie for the coveted position. Antetokounmpo was included in discussions with the Bucks brass and met one-on-one with the finalists at his home. He reportedly gave Griffin his seal of approval, which Bleacher Report and TNT insider Chris Haynes echoed in a tweet.
It is unlikely to be confirmed just how influential the 2021 NBA Finals MVP was in completing the hiring process, but it makes perfect sense that ownership and general manager Jon Horst would want the face of their franchise to have a say. Especially, when considering his future in Milwaukee is in some doubt.
Giannis Antetokounmpo can become a free agent after next season should he decline his $51.9 million player option. The two-time MVP will presumably want to ink a long-term contract. Making him happy and ensuring a deal can be reached before having to sweat out an extremely stressful summer is the Bucks' primary goal.
That is not to say that Adrian Griffin is just a figurehead who holds no qualifications whatsoever. Quite the contrary, actually. He contributed to the coaching staff that finally launched Toronto to the NBA pinnacle in 2019. His chance to lead was likely coming at some point, but now he assumes control of a roster still positioned to contend for championships.
Best of all, though, he has the support of one of the greatest players in the sport today. Sounds like a good first impression.