Terry Stotts, Dame Lillard’s previous coach, resigns from Bucks

It’s not fairly as impactful or scandalous as Ime Udoka getting sidelined earlier than Boston’s season final September, however a yr later one other Japanese Convention contender has misplaced an influential coach on the eve of the season. Milwaukee’s serendipitous reunion of longtime Portland Path Blazers head coach/present Bucks assistant Terry Stotts with Damian Lillard got here to an sudden finish on Thursday when Stotts stepped down from Milwaukee’s teaching employees.

Stotts joined the Bucks in June, and his presence appeared to make Milwaukee a extra fascinating vacation spot for Lillard. The opposite two locations on Lillard’s checklist have been Miami, the place he was tight with Bam Adebayo, and Brooklyn, whose cornerstone was an in depth sufficient good friend of Lillard’s that he sat courtside to look at them play towards the top of the 2023 marketing campaign. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee being the No. 1 seed within the East a yr in the past actually helped, however Stotts was a small piece of Portland within the midwest for Dame.

No one would blame Stotts, 65, for stepping away from the grind after two years off, however you’d assume being on the championship hunt with Lillard may have motivated him to remain for one final hurrah. Stotts’ resolution to step away per week earlier than the common season is a touch that each one shouldn’t be properly in Cream Metropolis. Not solely was Stotts somebody that Lillard trusted, however he was a veteran thoughts on first-time head coach Adrian Griffin’s employees.

There was additionally admiration between Stotts and Lillard. At his introductory press convention, Lillard stated, “It’ll be clean…There’s a variety of issues which can be acquainted. I’ve performed withTerry [Stotts] for 9 years. Quite a lot of stuff we put in is stuff I’ve executed for a very long time. So it’s easy for me. I perceive it. I do know the place to search out myself”

All of the indicators level to a misalignment between Griffin and Stotts. Stotts was an addition reportedly made on the behest of the group, and given how extremely Lillard considered Stotts, there could not have been sufficient area on that teaching employees for these egos. Not solely is Griffin a rookie head coach, however Stotts is a seasoned coach who has accrued expertise as a head coach at a number of stops together with Milwaukee, though that was two possession regimes in the past. His rotations and lineups have been a bane of Portlandia’s existence for years.

Griffin talked about Stotts as a de facto offensive coordinator all through the offseason, however it seems one thing modified in that dynamic or the strain was at all times there and simply properly hidden. With the common season simply over the horizon, Stotts could have determined this was nearly as good a time as any to make a beeline to the exits and Lillard had no bearing on his resolution.

Griffin was conciliatory when requested about Stotts’ departure on Thursday, however any disagreements between Stotts and Griffin grew to become magnified exponentially as soon as Lillard arrived.

It’s shocking Stotts left voluntarily as an alternative of awkwardly standing round and turning into an much more outstanding sideline voice anytime the Bucks hit a tough patch like a number of the extra ruthless figures in teaching would have executed. He’s a classier man than most.

His resignation removes that potential distraction from Griffin’s peripherals. Previous to this season, Griffin had by no means held a head teaching place and now he’s tasked with maximizing two of essentially the most distinctive skills in basketball with out his lead assistant.

Stotts’ departure in all probability received’t have an effect on the Bucks’ general successful share, however his mysterious and abrupt resignation has created intrigue in regards to the inside workings of the Bucks new teaching employees on a membership that already had questions on how their two superstars have been going gel on the court.

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