The 65-year-old American Terry Stotts has returned from retirement two years after being let go in Portland to work on Adrian Griffin’s coaching staff with the Bucks.
Lillard, who was acquired by the Bucks in a trade last month, said Stotts’ presence in Milwaukee aided his adjustment.
“Everybody was kind of surprised by it,” Lillard told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It kind of came out of nowhere.”
Lillard said that Stotts personally informed him of the decision via phone.
Griffin said that Stotts informed the group of his choice on Wednesday.
“It caught all of us off guard, of course, but again, you just support him,” Griffin told the newspaper. “He was a terrific guy. I learned a lot from him in a very short time. He was really good at what he does.
“He made a decision — a personal decision — and we just have to respect that.”
You’re going to have to ask Terry, Griffin said, declining to elaborate on Stotts’ departure. He is an excellent instructor. I had a great time getting to know him. Fantastic individual. He made the choice. Just the best to him, please.
Lillard said that he saw Stotts’ departure as a necessary component of basketball business.
“I’ve been in this league long enough to know that these types of things happen,” Lillard said. “Everything continues, so you’ve got to kind of process things like this and other things that may come up and continue to move forward.
“Knowing Terry as long as I’ve known him — playing for him for nine years and him also making this transition for me easier just having a familiar face be such a huge part of it — was a good thing.
“Now that I’m settled in, to see him go is unfortunate. It’s sad to see him go, but like I said, everything is still moving forward.”
The Bucks open the 2023-24 season next Thursday at home against reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.