League sources report that the Milwaukee Bucks will hire their director of basketball operations as the team’s next general manager.
When former Bucks GM John Hammond left for the Orlando Magic, it was originally thought that assistant GM Justin Zanik would rise to the role. However, the team had different plans and interviewed multiple candidates for the position with Zanik and Denver Nuggets executive Arturas Karnisovas being named the finalists. Denver then promoted Karnisovas to their GM role and he dropped out.
Instead of hiring Zanik, the Bucks opted to hire a different in-house option in Jon Horst. Horst came to the Bucks in 2008 from Detroit with John Hammond. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that sources say Hammond wanted to bring Horst with him to Orlando.
The Bucks reportedly will hire an executive with lots of front office experience to help mentor Horst.
Zanik had previously been running the Bucks’ draft scouting process and it is unclear what Zanik’s role will be or if he will even stay in the organization at all.
This change comes at a crucial time for the Bucks. If the organization can get this year’s draft right they can set themselves up as legitimate contenders for the next few years as they continue to finalize their rebuild.
Previous general manager John Hammond liked going for high-risk high-reward guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker. He also nailed this year’s second round pick Malcolm Brogdon. It will be interesting to see how the new faces in the organization approach the draft.
The front office also had to deal with a task Hammond never had to face: putting a G-League team together. They will have to assist with the Wisconsin Herd organization in their expansion draft and will also have to decide what to do with the new addition of two-way contracts.