Grizzlies name Bucks’ Jenkins as new head coach

The Memphis Grizzlies have named Milwaukee Bucks assistant Taylor Jenkins as the franchise's new head coach, the team announced Tuesday.

Jenkins has rapidly built a reputation as an outstanding young teacher and tactician, and he'll take over a Grizzlies roster that includes veteran star Mike Conley Jr., promising young forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and, presumably, Murray State point guard Ja Morant, whom the franchise is targeting with the No. 2 overall pick in next week's NBA draft.

The Grizzlies' new executive vice president of basketball operations, Zach Kleiman, led the coaching search.

"Taylor has an excellent coaching pedigree, and we are confident he will lay the groundwork of developing the young players on our roster while having the elite basketball acumen and forward-thinking positive vision to be a high-level NBA head coach,'' Kleiman said in a statement Tuesday.

Jenkins is the third NBA coach to come directly off Mike Budenholzer's staff, joining Utah's Quin Snyder and Brooklyn's Kenny Atkinson.

The Grizzlies had conducted a wide search over the past two months, including the consideration of EuroLeague, NBA and NCAA coaching candidates. Jenkins met with Memphis officials three times, including with Memphis owner Robert Pera last week, sources said.

Jenkins has been an assistant on Budenholzer's staffs with the Bucks (2018-19 season) and Atlanta Hawks (2013 to '18). He started his coaching career with the San Antonio Spurs' G League franchise in Austin, Texas, where he led the team to the playoffs. Jenkins is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

The Grizzlies are rebuilding after tying their own NBA record for most players used in a season at 28 for a second year in a row and setting the NBA mark with 20 different leading scorers.

The Grizzlies also have to decide what to do with 31-year-old guard Mike Conley, who remains under contract for two more seasons and is due $67 million on the max contract he signed in July 2016. Chandler Parsons still has a year left on his deal after playing only 95 games combined over the first three seasons.

Memphis also has Dillon Brooks, who was limited to 18 games by injuries, and Kyle Anderson, signed to a four-year deal last summer, is recovering from surgery on his right shoulder.

The Grizzlies hope hiring Jenkins will be enough to persuade Jonas Valanciunas, acquired in the February trade for Marc Gasol, to exercise his $17.6 million player option for this season. Thursday is the deadline for that option.