The Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Mike Budenholzer after a first-round exit in the NBA playoffs. Heading into a crucial offseason for the franchise, Bucks rumors are swirling about the team’s coaching search, offseason plans and targets.
Milwaukee will face some difficult decisions this offseason. While it can retain both forward Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, it will come at the expense of rotation depth. The Bucks also don’t have any tradeable first-round picks in the next three years, limiting their ability to acquire talent.
- Milwaukee Bucks cap space (Spotrac): -$27.73 million
The Bucks’ coaching search will be the first step this offseason in correcting problems that have kept this team out of the Eastern Conference Finals in consecutive years. It could also prove crucial to swaying Giannis Antetokounmpo to remain with the franchise long-term.
Related: NBA free agents 2023
Let’s dive into the latest Milwaukee Bucks rumors from the 2023 NBA offseason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has ‘preferred’ option for next Bucks’ coach
While Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst will pick the next head coach, Giannis Antetokounmpo will receive some input in the decision. As the coaching search narrows down to a select group of finalists, there is a preferred option by the Bucks’ superstar.
Antetokounmpo reportedly prefers the Bucks hire Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin to replace Budenholzer. Griffin, age 48, has worked as an assistant coach in the NBA since 2008. He originally worked for Milwaukee (2008-’10), before stints with the Chicago Bulls (2010-’15), Orlando Magic (2015-’16), Oklahoma City Thunder (2016-’18) and Raptors.
While hiring a different coach likely wouldn’t push Antetokounmpo to request a trade, the organization does want him to be happy. Griffin was also interviewed by the Raptors this offseason for their head-coaching vacancy and he met with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2022.
Bucks rumors: Finalists named for Milwaukee’s coaching vacancy
After firing their head coach, the Bucks quickly met with some of the top assistant coaches in the NBA, college coaches and several recently-fired head coaches. Griffin, Nick Nurse, Chris Quinn, Kelvin Sampson, Frank Vogel, Mark Jackson and Kenny Atkinson are among the candidates Milwaukee has spoken with.
Now, per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks’ finalists are Atkinson, Griffin and Nurse. Milwaukee will conduct another round of interviews with club owners involved in those discussions. Of note, Nurse is also being heavily pursued by the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers, which could compel the Bucks to act quickly.
Milwaukee Bucks expected to re-sign Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez
While landing a head coach is Milwaukee’s priority, it must also work to retain two of its starters who are poised to enter unrestricted free agency. Khris Middleton is expected to decline his $40.396 million player option, while Defensive Player of the Year candidate Brook Lopez will be one of the most coveted centers in NBA free agency.
However, the belief around the NBA is that the Bucks will re-sign Middleton and Lopez. While that is the expectation, some around the league are more skeptical because there is uncertainty about how much it will cost to re-sign both players and keeping both eliminates any flexibility to truly improve the roster for next season.
New York Knicks monitoring Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
While Milwaukee is still viewed as a championship contender in the Eastern Conference, there are some questions regarding the team’s long-term outlook. The Bucks have Antetokounmpo under contract through the 2024-’25 season, with a $51.9 million player option for the 2025-’26 season.
While Antetokounmpo seems happy in Milwaukee right now, his situation is being monitored. There’s been speculation from NBA insiders that the situation could change quickly and the New York Knicks are reportedly monitoring things. The rumors further strengthen the belief that this offseason will be pivotal for Milwaukee’s future.
Milwaukee Bucks draft picks
Here are the Bucks draft picks in the NBA Draft over the next three years.
- 2023: 58th overall
- 2024: 2nd round pick
- 2025: None
Milwaukee Bucks free agents 2023
- Khris Midleton – Player option, bird rights
- Brook Lopez – Unrestricted free agent, bird rights
- Jae Crowder – Unrestricted free agent, bird rights
- Joe Ingles – Unrestricted free agent
- Wesley Matthews – Unrestricted free agent
- Jevon Carter – Unrestricted free agent
- Meyers Leonard – Unrestricted free agent
- Goran Dragic – Unrestricted free agent