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Report: Raptors to hire Adrian Griffin as lead assistant coach

Sounds like the first piece is in place for head coach Nick Nurse as he builds his new coaching staff in Toronto.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to reports, the Raptors are set to make their next move in rebuilding their coaching staff after firing long-time head coach Dwane Casey earlier this month.

The process started with the promotion of Nick Nurse to head coach, then by moving Jama Mahlalela to the 905 in the G League, and finally, as per Yahoo’s Shams Charania: the team plans to hire Adrian Griffin as their lead assistant.

Griffin, 43, has been an assistant coach since 2008 after he retired as an NBA player with nine seasons of experience under his belt. With his playing days behind him, Griffin joined the Bucks for a pair of seasons with Scott Skiles, then moved onto the Bulls in their 2010-15 heyday under Tom Thibodeau, before jumping to the Magic for one season (again with Skiles), and then ending up on the Thunder under Billy Donovan from 2016 until now. In between the NBA gigs, Griffin also worked with the Team USA coaching staff during the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

(Side note: Griffin’s playing career was largely of the journeyman variety. He began his career in Boston, before going to Dallas (twice), Houston, Chicago (twice), and then, if you can believe this, the Seattle SuperSonics. In fact, Griffin’s last career game was the third last game in Sonics franchise history. He was also involved in two different trades featuring the immortal Joe Smith.)

All things considered, Griffin has worked with a wide variety of coaches (and some of the league’s scream-iest) and today is one of the more respected staffers across the league. We don’t yet know what Griffin’s responsibilities will be, or what this indicates for the rest of Nurse’s staff. But as lead assistants go, one thing is clear: it sounds like Toronto got one of the best on the market.