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Ex-Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts reportedly stepping down as Bucks assistant

Ex-Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts reportedly stepping down as Bucks assistant

Ryan Young

Former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts is stepping down from his post on the Milwaukee Bucks coaching staff.

Stotts stepped down as an assistant coach with the Bucks on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He had joined the organization earlier this spring after a two-season break from coaching, but “decided in recent days that he wouldn’t continue in that role.”

It’s unclear who head coach Adrian Griffin will add to his staff to replace him. Griffin told reporters Thursday he was caught off guard by the move.

“He was a terrific guy. I learned a lot from him in a very short time,” Griffin said, via The Athletic. “He was really good at what he does. He made a decision, a personal decision, and we just have to respect that.”

According to The Athletic, there was an incident between Stotts and Griffin at a shootaround on Tuesday in Oklahoma City. Griffin reportedly called the team together for a huddle to close out the shootaround ahead of the preseason game, and he told the coaches in that huddle that he wanted to have a separate huddle with just them once it broke.

Once that huddle ended, Stotts apparently walked away from the coaches huddle and started trying to talk to Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Griffin eventually yelled at Stotts in front of the entire team to join the coaches’ huddle, per the report.

Griffin declined to get into specifics about why Stotts had resigned.

Stotts’ resignation comes at an unusual time, both given that the season is set to start officially next week and the Bucks had just landed Lillard in a trade with the Trail Blazers. Both Stotts and Lillard landed in Portland ahead of the 2012-13 season, and the two spent nine seasons together there before Stotts was fired after the 2020-21 campaign.

Lillard was traded to the Bucks last month in a three-team deal that included the Phoenix Suns after he requested a trade out of Portland. He said before training camp started in Milwaukee that he was excited to reunite with Stotts, too.

“It kind of came out of nowhere,” Lillard said Thursday, via The Athletic. “I’ve been in this league long enough to know that these types of things happen. Everything continues, so you’ve got to kind of process things like this and other things that may come up and continue to move forward. For me, knowing Terry as long as I’ve known him – playing for him for nine years and him also making this transition for me easier just having a familiar face be such a huge part of it – was a good thing. I think now that I’m settled in, to see him go is unfortunate. It’s sad to see him go, but like I said, everything is still moving forward.”

Terry Stotts joined the Bucks this past offseason and briefly reunited with Damian Lillard in Milwaukee.

Terry Stotts joined the Bucks this past offseason and briefly reunited with Damian Lillard in Milwaukee. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images) (Steph Chambers via Getty Images)

Stotts went 402-318 during his nine seasons in Portland, which marked his third coaching job in the league after short stints with the Atlanta Hawks and Bucks. He also worked as an assistant with the Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks.

The Bucks went 58-24 last season, but were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. The organization hired Griffin this past offseason after parting ways with Mike Budenholzer, who led the team to an NBA title in 2021. They will open the season on Oct. 26 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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