Ever since the Lakers began their coaching search, rumors have persistently linked the team to a coach who works for the Toronto Raptors, and on Wednesday, they asked Canada’s only NBA franchise for permission to interview someone matching that description.
However, rather than head coach Nick Nurse, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that it’s actually one of his assistants that the Lakers front office has requested to interview: Longtime NBA assistant coach Adrian Griffin.
“Sources tell me the Lakers are planning to interview Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin as part of the search for their next head coach. Griffin joined Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as two known candidates so far for the job... Griffin played nine seasons in the NBA and has served as an assistant since 2008, coaching on the sidelines for Milwaukee, Chicago, Orlando, Oklahoma City and now Toronto, where he was part of Nick Nurse’s championship staff in 2019.”
Lakers request permission to interview Toronto Raptors assistant for LA’s head coaching job, sources say: pic.twitter.com/Ej1iSe0xqN— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 4, 2022
Griffin was Nurse’s first assistant coach hire, and the Lakers may not be the only team interested in him.
"The black coaches that were hired [across NBA] ... all of them had really, really good years for what they had in their program. They need to be recognized." -- Ujiri. Adds that teams are calling about Raptors 905 head coach Patrick Mutombo and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) May 3, 2022
Like with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, the team will in all likelihood be granted permission to speak to Griffin. In the 2014 version of his yearly profiles of up-and-coming assistant coaches, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN described his resume as follows:
He had barely filed his retirement papers in 2008 when Scott Skiles and the Milwaukee Bucks offered him a job as an assistant. After two seasons with the Bucks, Griffin joined Thibodeau, with whom he’s developed a close relationship. After coaching the Bulls’ summer-league squad, Griffin stuck around Las Vegas to pitch in at Team USA’s minicamp.
“You combine that kind of professionalism with that kind of mentorship and you’re going to have a good chance to succeed,” a general manager says.
The result is a coaching prospect who was characterized by one league insider as “a player-friendly Tom Thibodeau.”
Griffin also made the 2020 version of Arnovitz’s list.
However, it is worth noting that a few months after Arnovitz’s story was originally published, Griffin’s ex-wife made a series of domestic violence allegations against him in since-deleted tweets. Griffin denied the allegations in a statement, and countersued for defamation last August. The full lawsuit can be found here. The case is still ongoing.
This breaking news story may update with more information as it continues to develop.