Earlier this week, the Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Adrian Griffin. To the casual observer, the move seemed to come out of left field. The Bucks were 30-13 at the time of the firing, which was tied for the second-best record in the entire NBA. But there were a handful of warning signs along the way. Griffin’s top assistant, Terry Stotts, promptly resigned before the team’s final preseason game. Front office executives were coming to practices, watching Griffin closely. And the team even brought in Doc Rivers in an advisory role six weeks into the season.
Yes, the same Doc Rivers who just replaced Griffin as Milwaukee’s head coach.
Most notably, Griffin seemed to have lost control of the locker room. The staff and players realized he wasn’t the guy to bring them to a championship. You can argue if Rivers is that guy — head over to Reddit and Twitter, and people are already doing that — but he’s at least reached the NBA Finals twice, winning a title with the 2008 Boston Celtics.
Griffin should eventually find his way to another NBA bench, likely in an assistant coaching role. Even if he doesn’t, he’s going to make a ton of money from just seven months as the Bucks’ head coach.
At the time he signed, The Athletic reported Griffin’s deal was worth more than $4 million per season through 2026-27. That means the total value is worth north of $12 million. Unless the Bucks have some kind of buyout agreement in place, Griffin will receive his entire contract.
Per Basketball Reference, Griffin made a total of $7,544,728 in his nine NBA seasons. That page includes his salary during his first year as an assistant coach, which is irrelevant in this scenario, though coincidentally, Griffin’s first assistant job was with the Bucks.
The most Griffin made in a single season was during his final year in the league, earning $1,593,000. He only played in 35 games that season, appearing on the court for both the Chicago Bulls and Seattle Supersonics.
So, to recap: Griffin made slightly more than $7.5 million over nine years and 477 games. After being fired, he’ll get more than $12 million over three years and 43 games.
There’s probably a great lesson here about working smarter, not harder.