Masai Ujiri has made it very clear that the Toronto Raptors are not going to let coach Nick Nurse take the head coaching job with the Los Angeles Lakers. Rob Pelinka quickly pivoted and found an alternative, as LA has set their sights on Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin.
After Ujiri confirmed that teams have been contacting him about some of his top assistants, Shams Charania reported that the Lakers intend to interview Griffin for their head coaching vacancy. Griffin has been a major part of Toronto’s success during the Nurse era.
Hiring Nurse assistants has been quite the trend over the last few seasons. While Nate Bjorkgren fizzled in Indiana, Chris Finch’s success in Minnesota could entice the Lakers to woo Griffin and pair him with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Griffin has earned his first head coaching job, but he should also have enough common sense to know he would be walking into a snake pit in LA due to all of the turnover and uneasiness emanating from what used to be the Staples Center. Would Griffin be the man who turns the Lakers around?
Pros and Cons of Adrian Griffin leaving the Toronto Raptors for the Lakers.
Griffin played in the league for nearly a decade and immediately transitioned to the bench, where he has been for the last 13 years. Perhaps a former player who has been through the trials and tribulations of an NBA season can connect with James more than someone like Frank Vogel did.
Unlike previous LeBron coaches in Vogel and David Blatt, Griffin would be coming straight off the bench from a team that has been a champion and consistent winner. Griffin will likely bring along some elements of the Nurse formula that has worked so well for Toronto.
This seemingly slam-dunk pairing might not be a match made in heaven, however. Coaching James and Davis at your first NBA gig is tough because handling names like that could be problematic for someone with no experience.
Stability is critical at your first job, and a team being run by Jeanie Buss, Linda Rambis, and Phil Jackson like some mom-and-pop store might be more chaotic than how Ujiri is doing business in Toronto.
Griffin will likely have the luxury of picking from multiple gigs in order to decide which one is right for him. Going from Nurse’s right-hand man to LeBron’s coach in one season would be a tremendous rise to the top of his profession despite the associated risks.