Zanik was shown the door as the Milwaukee Bucks assistant general manager last week, shortly after he had been one of the three finalists for the general manager’s position vacated by John Hammond’s departure to Orlando. Now, NBA sources said Monday night that the Bucks have jettisoned several more officials, including Billy McKinney, the team’s longtime director of scouting, and Chris Gilmartin, the team’s director of pro scouting. McKinney, who is well respected in the league, came to the Bucks from Detroit nine years ago from Detroit with Hammond. Prior to that, McKinney also worked in the front office for Chicago and Minnesota.
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Zanik, McKinney and Gilmartin weren’t the only ones fired by the Bucks in recent weeks. Two members of the Bucks public relations department – Mark Rosenberg, the director of communications, and Erika Johnson, public relations coordinator, have been dismissed.
Jon Horst, 34, might have been a surprise pick to replace Hammond among observers outside the organization. But there was a sense of familiarity when the franchise formally introduced Horst as the new general manager on Monday. “There was a process that we went through. It may seem like a surprising outcome. I’ve been asked that question by other people,” co-owner Wes Edens said as Horst smiled next to him. “At the end of it all, it was never really a surprise for us.”
Justin Zanik has left the Bucks after having once been considered the heir-apparent for the GM job when he arrived from the Utah Jazz a year ago. Edens praised Zanik’s contributions, which included overseeing draft prep in the period between general managers.
Gery Woelfel: Word is circulating throughout NBA tonight that asst. GM Justin Zanik’s time with the Bucks is close to being over, if it isn’t already.
Gery Woelfel: The whispers have started that it’s only a matter of time before Justin Zanik bolts Bucks following bungled GM search. #Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have named Jon Horst as General Manager. Horst, 34, has served as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations since 2008 where he was instrumental in personnel evaluation, salary cap management and contract negotiations.
“Our No. 1 priority is building a championship-caliber organization and we believe Jon is the right person to be our General Manager,” said Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan. “He has been an integral part of basketball operations for the last nine years, and has helped advise us on every major basketball decision since we purchased the team. Jon is very talented, capable, organized and someone we have leaned on for his strategic thinking and ability to execute our vision.”
Marc Stein: The Bucks plan to officially name Jon Horst as their new general manager later today, according to league sources.
Gery Woelfel: An NBA official on the Bucks’ muddled GM search: “The (three majority) owners can’t agree on anyone. Somebody should buy one of them out.”
Marc Stein: The Milwaukee Bucks have interviewed their own director of basketball operations, Jon Horst, for their vacant GM post, league sources say.
Marc Stein: League sources say Jon Horst has emerged as an increasingly serious Bucks GM candidate after working under former Bucks GM John Hammond
Marc Stein: Now Jon Horst — who John Hammond wanted to bring to Orlando — is contending for GM alongside Zanik, who is heading Milwaukee’s draft prep
Eric Nehm: Jon Horst has been with the Bucks organization for the last nine years. Originally hired in May ’08 when Hammond became general manager.
Karnisovas had emerged as a finalist for Milwaukee’s GM job, and the extended decision-making process within Bucks ownership played a part in Denver’s aggressiveness to find a solution with Karnisovas’ agent, Spencer Breecker, to hold onto Karnisovas, league sources said. Karnisovas informed Bucks ownership on Wednesday afternoon that he had withdrawn from consideration, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: In an aggressive move to secure Denver’s front office, Josh Kroenke has preempted Milwaukee’s bid to hire Arturas Karnisovas as GM.
Chris Dempsey: #Nuggets have made two major front office moves. First, Arturas Karnishovas stays and is elevated to GM.
Chris Dempsey: Second, GM Tim Connelly is now #Nuggets President of Basketball Operations.
Adrian Wojnarowski: W/ Karnisovas and Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik finalists, Milwaukee has yet to extend offer for GM job. Karnisovas withdrew in last hour. twitter.com/wojverticalnba…
Marc Stein: According to the latest indications, Milwaukee could name its new lead voice in the front office as early as this week.
The NBA draft is on June 22. Feigin says the organization is in good shape with assistant GM Justin Zanik overseeing draft preparation.
Gery Woelfel: Told by source Wilcox made strong impression on Bucks brass in interview on Friday and may have become frontrunner for GM spot.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Karnisovas and Wilcox will travel to Milwaukee for additional meetings with organization officials later this week.
According to sources within the Bucks’ organization and outside of it, Jamie Dinan, Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry have their own unique perspective on who should be the next person to oversee the NBA franchise’s basketball operations.
Not only are there differences among the owners. Sources claim Rod Thorn, a longtime NBA executive who is now a consultant for the Bucks and has spearheaded the GM search with Edens, also has a differing viewpoint on whom the next Bucks GM should be. Thorn, according to several NBA officials, is pushing hard for Ed Stefanski, the vice president of player personnel for the Memphis Grizzlies who worked with Thorn in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
But while Stefanski appears to be the frontrunner for the Bucks’ GM position, sources said each of the majority owners are leaning toward other GM candidates and claim Zanik and Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas are held in high regard by them.
The Milwaukee Bucks are finalizing a list of general manager candidates to meet with ownership early this week in New York, league sources told The Vertical. Owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens are expected to be part of this round of interviews, league sources said. So far, candidates have talked to a search firm and the initial list of candidates has been pared down, sources said.
Zanik remains a strong internal choice for the GM job, with his candidacy gathering significant support inside and outside the organization.
As assistant general manager Justin Zanik is preparing the franchise for the NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to reach out to potential general manager candidates and plan to begin formal interviews on Monday, league sources told The Vertical. The Bucks were granted permission to speak with several more GM candidates late this week, including Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Bill Branch, Miami Heat assistant GM Adam Simon and Detroit Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, league sources told The Vertical. Another candidate whom the Bucks have contacted, league sources said: San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon. Hammon has no front-office experience, but has been a behind-the-bench assistant coach under Gregg Popovich for three seasons.
As assistant general manager Justin Zanik is preparing the franchise for the NBA draft, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to reach out to potential general manager candidates and plan to begin formal interviews on Monday, league sources told The Vertical. The Bucks were granted permission to speak with several more GM candidates late this week, including Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Bill Branch, Miami Heat assistant GM Adam Simon and Detroit Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, league sources told The Vertical.
Another candidate whom the Bucks have contacted, league sources said: San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon. Hammon has no front-office experience, but has been a behind-the-bench assistant coach under Gregg Popovich for three seasons.
Manny Navarro: Can confirm two Woj reports: Willie Reed has told #Heat he will decline option for next season; Adam Simon will interview for #Bucks GM job
Adrian Wojnarowski: Bucks beginning formal interviews on Monday and Tuesday in New York, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Milwaukee has received permission to talk to two more GM candidates: Miami’s Adam Simon and Detroit’s Pat Garrity.
That may yet occur, but it’s highly unlikely it’ll be soon. According to sources, Kidd is not under consideration to become the Bucks’ new general manager or be given the title of president of basketball operations.
Stefanski, in the eyes of several NBA officials who were contacted on Wednesday, is the leading candidate. Stefanski and Bucks consultant Rod Thorn, who is spearheading the Bucks’ part in the search with Edens, are longtime friends. They also held front office posts with the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
Marc Stein: The Bucks, meanwhile, remain interested in Cavs general manager David Griffin for their front office vacancy, but Cleveland, as seen with both Orlando and Atlanta, are not granting Milwaukee permission to speak with David Griffin during the playoffs.
As assistant general manager Justin Zanik has started to operate the Milwaukee Bucks on a day-to-day basis, the franchise was granted permission to speak to several outside front-office executives in its search for a permanent GM, league sources told The Vertical. As a precursor to possible interviews, Milwaukee made calls on Tuesday to inquire about Indiana vice president of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie, Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Memphis Grizzlies VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski and Atlanta Hawks special adviser to ownership Wes Wilcox, league sources told The Vertical.
Zanik remains a strong internal candidate for the job, league sources told The Vertical. He joined the Bucks in 2016 after three years as assistant GM of the Utah Jazz.
The Milwaukee Bucks have interest in Cavaliers general manager David Griffin, whose current contract expires at season’s end and who is in discussions with Cleveland on continuing there. Multiple sources told cleveland.com that the Bucks, who lost general manager John Hammond to the Orlando Magic this week, have interest in Griffin, 47.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Zanik remains serious contender to elevate permanently from assistant GM and will run Bucks front office until process is complete.
Current Bucks assistant general manager Justin Zanik will interview for the GM post and be given strong consideration to succeed Hammond, sources said. Zanik has been erroneously described in some corners as the Bucks GM-in-waiting, but sources insist he was never promised the position by the Bucks upon joining them from the Utah Jazz and will have to convince team officials he is the best choice to lead the franchise into the future.
The Bucks, sources said, want to take this opportunity to ensure the leadership they select can help the franchise take the next step after a promising season that saw Milwaukee — led by Antetokounmpo and his rise to All-Star status – reach the playoffs despite losing Jabari Parker to a season-ending knee injury.
Marc Stein: The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to open up their newly vacant general manager position to a broad search, ESPN has learned.
Marc Stein: Bucks consultant and longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn will lead the search on behalf of Milwaukee ownership, league sources say.
Marc Stein: Bucks assistant general manager Justin Zanik will have an opportunity to interview for the GM position, according to league sources.
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: Griff could be a candidate in other places, including Milwaukee. Not sure Atlanta will wait. Griff wants a substantial offer.
“We are very excited to join Jeff (Weltman) and be a part of the team in Orlando,’’ Hammond said in a statement. “The Magic are a first-class organization all the way around and we look forward to this tremendous opportunity. I want to thank the ownership in Milwaukee, Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan, for their support and I certainly wish them well.’’
“John (Hammond) brings tremendous experience and is a great talent evaluator,’’ Weltman said in a statement. “He has experience in everything from day-to-day operations to player development. He built a great team in Milwaukee, and won a championship while in Detroit. We are very fortunate to have him as part of the Magic family.’’
Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond has agreed to a five-year contract to join the Orlando Magic’s front office as GM, league sources told The Vertical. Hammond will reunite with new Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman to try to revive the foundering franchise.
Milwaukee had been planning to promote assistant GM Justin Zanik to run the franchise in 2018 and letting Hammond accept a long-term deal with the Magic clears the way for the promotion to come sooner, league sources told The Vertical. Milwaukee hired Zanik a year ago from the Utah Jazz, where he had worked under GM Dennis Lindsey.
Marc Stein: As @Brian Windhorst reported, John Hammond interviewed in Orlando for the president of basketball operations job Toronto’s Jeff Weltman landed
The Magic interviewed several candidates for the job including Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond. The team was interested in hiring Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin for the position. Griffin had discussions about the job but never was able to formally interview because the Cavs did not grant permission and the Magic decided to move on.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Magic have interest in Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond, Toronto Raptors general manager Jeff Weltman and former Minnesota Timberwolves president and Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
NBA.com: What was is about Giannis that jumped out to you, that you said, “This is really going to translate”? Are there one or two reasons you really believed in him? John Hammond: Loved his length and also loved his skill set. And we also felt that he had the gift of knowing how to play the game. You could see he was very comfortable in the game. He had a good ability to ball. He was basically playing the point-guard position a lot of times for his team. He was getting the rebound and taking it himself on the break. Or sometimes other players would get the rebound, sometimes the smaller players would throw it to him to handle the ball. He was like the point guard for his team. Someone at that size was handling the basketball and along with that had just a really good feel for the game. We always say that feel for the game is one of those things that is almost impossible to teach. It’s just a gift that the player had, and I think that Giannis had that gift.
NBA.com: What about when you were looking at Thon? What popped? This was a guy had a lot of positives around him, but were there one or two things where you said, “Right there. That’s going to work”? JH: We loved his length. We loved his ability to shoot the ball. With the game moving to where it is today, can he be a stretch big? We’re still hoping that Thon can be that player consistently as he moves forward. But more than anything with Thon was then when we had the chance to get to know him, we just fell in love with him as a person. I loved (director of scouting) Billy McKinney’s line on Thon. When Thon left us after the draft workout, Billy said, “You can be guaranteed that player is going to become the very best he can possibly become because he’s going to work that hard.” He’s never going to leave anything on the table. He’s always going to give you 100 percent and give himself 100 percent and give himself the best opportunity to become a player someday in this league.
NBA.com: That’s right. In January 1973, a house that Abdul-Jabbar owned in D.C. was targeted in a home invasion. [Terrorists murdered several people in an attack on the player’s spiritual teacher Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, a rival of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Abdul-Jabbar was not present at the time.] WE: That took Washington out, so it got down to the Lakers or the Knicks. We did everything we could do to talk him out of wanting to be traded. But he said, “Nope. If you don’t, I’ll become a free agent or I’ll sign with the ABA.” Of course we didn’t want that to happen. So we decided to keep it quiet. “Let’s not go public until we have a deal.”
The Milwaukee Bucks today announced Craig Robinson as the organization’s new Vice President of Player and Organizational Development. Robinson brings a wealth of experience in business and basketball to the Bucks staff, where he will serve as a mentor and advisor to the Bucks roster – the youngest in the NBA. “Player development is instrumental to the success of our players on the court and their valuable impact in the community,” said Bucks co-owner Wes Edens. “We strive to equip every member of our organization with the tools they need to find personal success beyond basketball. As we continue to build a world-class franchise, we’re thrilled to have someone with Craig’s experience and character join our team and help our players reach their full potential on and off the court.”
Robinson will oversee the development and implementation of programs that support the professional and personal growth of players through education, mentorship, business and community efforts that align with the mission and goals of the Bucks organization. “It’s so important to surround our young players with talented and experienced people that can help mentor and guide them through the different stages of their careers,” said General Manager John Hammond. “Craig has an impressive set of qualifications that we feel will be beneficial to our players and our entire organization. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to the Bucks family.”
Jeff Zillgitt: At one point, Robinson expressed an interest in the NBPA executive director job, I was told.
Craig Robinson and his wife, Kelly, were married in 2006. He is the father of four children: sons Austin, Aaron and Avery, and daughter Leslie. Robinson is also the older brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources on @The Vertical: Milwaukee has extended the contract of GM John Hammond one year thru the 2017-’18 season.
The Milwaukee Bucks today named Justin Zanik the team’s new assistant general manager. In his role within the organization, Zanik will participate in all areas of day-to-day basketball operations management. Zanik joins Milwaukee following a three-year stint as the assistant general manager for the Utah Jazz, where he helped facilitate contract negotiations, managed the team’s salary cap and oversaw the scouting of international prospects, among other duties.
Frank Madden: New Ast GM Justin Zanik joined Jason Kidd and John Hammond at today’s workout. Look, John and Jason like each other! https://t.co/yBjKVi9Lxw
Charles F. Gardner: Bucks’ new assistant GM Justin Zanik watched morning workout involving 6 prospects. Official announcement of hiring expected soon.
Charles F. Gardner: League source disputes Zanik being termed “GM-in-waiting” for Bucks. Move provides more options for Bucks going forward.
Marc Stein: One quick note away from this series: ESPN sources say Milwaukee is closing in on the hiring of Justin Zanik as assistant general manager
The Milwaukee Bucks are hiring Utah Jazz executive Justin Zanik as the franchise’s general manager-in-waiting, league sources told The Vertical. Zanik, an assistant general manager with Utah, will join the Bucks with a similar job title – and an agreement that he will eventually become the successor to Milwaukee GM John Hammond, sources said.
A timetable on the succession plan is still unclear, sources said. Utah GM Dennis Lindsey was agreeable in letting Zanik make the move because the initial assistant GM role comes with the provision that Zanik will become the Bucks’ top basketball executive, league sources said.
Speaking of the Raptors: Bobby Webster, their vice president of basketball management and strategy, is among the candidates interviewing for Milwaukee’s assistant GM job, according to sources familiar with the matter. Webster, a former cap and CBA expert for the league office, is considered a rising front-office star.
Jason Kidd: “John Hammond and those guys have been scouting all year, and will put us in a position as we get closer to the draft and free agency to have a better understanding of who we like, and what we want to do to improve our team. I think John and I have been a pretty good team together. The things that have been reported about my relationship with him simply aren’t true. He and I have a great relationship. When he has asked for my input, I have given to him, and that’s that. All the speculation about me wanting to be the general manager of the franchise is totally false.”
Jason Kidd: “John has done a great job of being the GM here in Milwaukee. I have total respect for what he does for this organization. I understand the success that he’s had, and have enjoyed learning from him. He’s been in this business and been doing it for a long time. He won a championship in Detroit, so he knows what it means and what it takes to build a winner. And because he has also coached in this league, he’s seen it from that side, too. We both come to the office everyday to continue to look at what we can do going forward to get better as a team.”
Charles F. Gardner: Source confirms @ESPNSteinLine report that Utah exec Justin Zanik and former Charlotte pres. of bkb ops Rod Higgins will interview w/Bucks.
Two of the more significant changes could involve Bucks general manager John Hammond and Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. A year ago, there was considerable chatter Hammond would move on, only to see him receive a one-year extension. But several NBA sources contend Hammond will soon be relocating to another zip code — either being fired or leaving on his own volition. Talk among some league officials is Hammond will end up in perhaps a similar position with New Orleans. The Pelicans figure to be doing some serious housecleaning themselves and hire Louisiana native, former Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy’’ and Hammond confidante Joe Dumars as the president of basketball operations.
As for Kidd, ever since his arrival in Milwaukee two summers ago, there have been whispers his coaching tenure wouldn’t be long and that it would only be a matter of time before he moved into the front office. But I’m told Kidd, who was brought to Milwaukee by one of the team’s tri-majority owners and close friend, Marc Lasry, hasn’t endeared himself to the rest of the Bucks’ ownership group. Some think Kidd’s arrogant, some think his heart isn’t into coaching and are miffed he took off a portion of the season for hip surgery when he could have done it in the offseason. Some, most importantly, question his coaching acumen and his player personal decision-making.
I’ve also been told by people close to the Bucks’ situation that Kidd, once the golden boy of the organization, is now on shaky ground. His future with the franchise is clearly cloudy, especially from a coaching standpoint when some highly-regarded and vastly more experienced coaches than Kidd are available. Can you say Tom Thibodeau?
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June 28, 2017 | 9:23 pm EDT Update
Ramona Shelburne: There was still strong internal debate on whether the team should pay $45 million in the final year of a deal to a 37-year-old player. Big Detail: The Clippers had not yet committed to give Chris Paul the full five-year max contract of $201 million.
The New York Knicks’ focus over the next few weeks will be on free agency, and not on a replacement for departed team president Phil Jackson, league sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. General manager Steve Mills was leading the front office in talks with other teams on Wednesday, sources said.
Any discussion with Ujiri — who is facing a potential rebuild of his own should the Raptors lose free agents Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, PJ Tucker and Patrick Patterson — would first require permission and then steep compensation (such as draft picks), which league sources said was unlikely for the Knicks, given their current roster construction.