Coming home: Bucks to hire Milwaukee native Porter

The Bucks will hire Kings assistant Terry Porter as head coach to complete their offseason overhaul.

Originally Published: August 5, 2003
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Milwaukee native Terry Porter, after just one season on an NBA bench, will be named Wednesday as the new coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

ESPN.com has learned that Porter beat out Phoenix Suns assistant coach Marc Iavaroni and Atlanta Hawks interim coach Terry Stotts in the race to replace George Karl. The Bucks completed final interviews over the weekend when owner Sen. Herb Kohl returned to Milwaukee in a break from his political duties.

The Bucks called a news conference for 5 p.m. Wednesday to introduce their new coach.

Terry Porter
Terry Porter gets his first head coaching job after one season as an assistant.
Porter served as an assistant to Rick Adelman in Sacramento last season after 17 seasons as a player. Despite his inexperience, Porter is considered a good coaching prospect whose odds were undoubtedly boosted by his ties to the area. The Bucks' status as a starting-over team, after a steady dismantling of the group that reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2001, gives Porter time to grow as a head coach.

The Bucks considered several candidates after the July 20 dismissal of Karl. Porter, Iavaroni, Stotts and Detroit assistant coach Mike Woodson were the four finalists. Kohl will undoubtedly be hoping for Porter, who went to the NBA Finals twice as Portland's floor leader, to have a strong influence on T.J. Ford, the Bucks' rookie point guard who was selected eighth overall in June draft.

Iavaroni, perhaps best known for starting as a rookie forward on Philadelphia's 1982-83 championship team, began his coaching career in Cleveland under Mike Fratello in 1997 before spending three seasons in Miami under Pat Riley. He's currently part of Frank Johnson's strong staff in Phoenix, alongside fellow assistants Mike D'Antoni (former head coach of the Denver Nuggets) and Tim Grgurich.

Stotts served as a Bucks assistant under Karl for four seasons -- and for five seasons before that in Seattle -- before joining Atlanta as an assistant to Lon Kruger last season. Stotts took over as Hawks coach after Kruger was fired Dec. 26 and went 24-31 for the rest of the season. The sale of the Hawks to Dallas businessman David McDavid is still not completed, but it's expected that Stotts will receive strong consideration from new ownership to stay in his current job.

Karl and the Bucks parted with one season left on Karl's contract at a league-high $7 million. He was the last to go in an exodus that saw each prominent member of the Bucks' conference finals squad leave town, with Karl preceded out the exit door by Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen, Sam Cassell and general manager Ernie Grunfeld.

Gary Payton, acquired for Allen in February, left in free agency last month to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Porter thus inherits an untested core of Tim Thomas, Desmond Mason and Michael Redd, with Toni Kukoc and Anthony Mason as holdover veterans, at least in the short term.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. To e-mail him, click here. Also, send Stein a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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