Reports: Adrian Griffin Being Added To Thunder Coaching Staff
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said last week one of the first things he wants to get done this off-season is hiring an assistant coach to replace Monty Williams.
Williams has decided to remain with his family rather than return to coaching following the February death of his wife in a car crash.
Donovan elevated OKC Blue head coach Mark Daigneault to help out during the rest of last season. During his exit interview chat with reporters last week Donovan said the search for a fulltime replacement was about to get started.
“I want to, first and foremost, find somebody. It could be someone inside the organization, maybe someone from the outside,” Donovan said at the time.
According to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein and another from the Orlando Sentinal’s Josh Robbins, someone from the outside is the front-runner.
Stein, writing on ESPN.com, reports the “Thunder are nearing a deal with Adrian Griffin to fill the void on the bench created by Monty Williams’ departure.”
Robbins reports in the Sentinal that Griffin “has reached a deal in principle to become the Thunder’s lead assistant.”
Griffin was Scott Skiles lead assistant with the Orlando Magic last season and he was a top candidate to replace Skiles when he suddenly resigned. The Magic job ended up going to former Pacers head coach Frank Vogel but Griffin is highly respected around the league.
Griffin’s specialty is considered to be defense and he spent several seasons working alongside Tom Thibodeau on the Chicago Bulls staff where defensive guru Ron Adams was also on staff.
Donovan said the most important thing he would be looking for in a new coach is chemistry with the staff and players.
“At this level there’s plenty of really, really good competent coaches X and O-wise but to me it’s much deeper than that because if you don’t have good staff chemistry with the length of the season it’s just too hard. So that’s got to be the first part, it’s got to be someone who really fits in.”
Griffin also had a 9-year playing career in the NBA which finished in the spring of 2008 with the Seattle SuperSonics. That of course was Kevin Durant's rookie season. The franchise moved to Oklahoma City that summer.
The Thunder have not commented on the reports that Griffin is the guy.