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Bulls planning to hire Adrian Griffin as assistant coach
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Adrian Griffin

 

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Published: 9/8/2010 12:07 PM | Updated: 9/8/2010 4:34 PM

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The Bulls will hire Adrian Griffin to be their new assistant coach, a team source confirmed on Wednesday.

Griffin, 36, played for the Bulls for 2½ seasons between 2004-08, and spent the last two seasons on Scott Skiles' staff with the Milwaukee Bucks.

"I am very fortunate," Griffin said in the Racine Journal-Times. "I was just a player two years ago and now I'm a coach. It's very competitive to make an NBA team as a player, but it's even more competitive to become an NBA coach."

The other top candidate for this spot was former Milwaukee and Phoenix head coach Terry Porter. The Bulls preferred Griffin primarily because they know him so well.

During his time with the Bucks, Griffin's role was what's known as a "back row" coach, which means he wasn't one of the top three assistants allowed, by league rule, to sit on the bench. Moving to the Bulls will be a promotion, since Griffin will join Ron Adams and Andy Greer in the front row next to head coach Tom Thibodeau.

That may be why Skiles is willing to let Griffin leave for a division rival. The Bulls will not be sending any compensation to Milwaukee, according to a source.

"The Bucks were supportive and I appreciate them being so kind to me," Griffin said in the Journal-Times. "I owe a lot to Scott; he gave me my first coaching opportunity. Scott was great. And John Hammond (the Bucks general manager) was excellent. I'm grateful to all of them."

Thibodeau created this opening on the coaching staff by deciding in July not to keep longtime assistant Pete Myers on the bench. Myers is expected to continue working for the Bulls as a scout this season.

Griffin first joined the Bulls as sort of an afterthought. During the summer of 2004, the Bulls received veteran center Dikembe Mutombo from New York in the Jamal Crawford trade. Mutombo wanted to play in Houston, so the Bulls moved him along for Griffin, Eric Piatkowski and Mike Wilks.

There were rumors that Griffin would never join the Bulls because of a knee injury. But the 6-foot-5 forward showed up for camp and turned out to be a valuable voice of maturity on the 2004-05 team, which went from an 0-9 start to 47 wins.

The Bulls didn't keep him around after that season and missed his leadership in the locker room. After Griffin started a few games in the NBA Finals for Dallas in '06, the Bulls outbid the Mavericks to bring him back as a free agent.

So Griffin, a Wichita, Kan., native, was back on the team in 2006-07 when the Bulls won 49 games. He was traded the following season while the Bulls were desperate to unload Ben Wallace, and retired as a player a few months later.