The Bucks have a vision, too. Not only does it include Antetokounmpo spending his entire career in Milwaukee, but it puts him at the center of everything they’re planning for the future. “We know this is the unicorn,” team president Peter Feigin said of the team’s 23-year-old star.
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They not only hope to one day hang his jersey at the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center — a sparkling new arena that cost more than a half-billion dollars to construct and is set to become the Bucks’ new home starting in 2018-19 — but they’ve made Antetokounmpo the centerpiece of almost every major decision the organization makes, as the Bucks look to make a splash on a worldwide scale. “What we call ‘The Giannis Effect’ really kind of took place 18 months ago, maybe two years ago, where you had this guy who had a skill set that was unlike anything ever,” Feigin said. “Now it’s really kind of grasping it and leveraging it and marketing it [in] a big, strong way, and marketing it to the world, which is different because he’s really attractive to the world.”
What makes Antetokounmpo’s situation unique is his status as an international superstar, one who has become the basketball-playing face of his native Greece. That status, Feigin explains, completely flipped the Bucks’ marketing strategy. “We were all about, ‘Hey, we’ve got to really focus on Milwaukee, we’ve got to focus on the state of Wisconsin. We’ve got to focus on the region of the Midwest. Then we’re going to become the national team, and then international,'” he said. “Well, overnight we became one of the top international kind of teams on every metric: on games viewed, on digital views, on video views. So how do you leverage that and take that great awareness and excitement and now funnel it down to the local level?”
The Bucks must explore every avenue to try to upgrade the talent around Antetokounmpo. Despite the all-star starter being in the first year of a four-year contract extension, he is already on the clock in terms of figuring out what his future will look like beyond that. “Right now, I’m just trying to focus on basketball and getting better, and helping my team win,” Antetokounmpo said. “But of course, the front office, whenever they’re about to make a move, [they let me know] so I can feel comfortable. “They know one of my characteristics is being loyal to my teammates, to my coaching staff, they always try to inform me, that’s pretty much it.”
On Monday, the Bucks made a move to shore up their front line, acquiring Tyler Zeller from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Rashad Vaughn and a future second-round pick. “We saw an opportunity to add someone who has, I think, legitimate NBA center size, someone who is a proven NBA player, another floor spacer, a guy who has recently shown that he can shoot the ball from the corner three,” general manager Jon Horst said Tuesday. “Analytically he’s a very good rebounder and efficient scorer around the rim as well. Coach (Joe) Prunty has coached him when he was with Cleveland and John Henson played with him, so we did our due diligence.
David Aldridge: Bucks, for now, don’t think they need to make a deal to replace Malcolm Brogdon (torn quad, out 6-8 weeks) on the roster. Plenty of backcourt depth (Brown, Kilpatrick, Munford, etc.) Could still make a trade by deadline, but not b/c of Brogdon injury; looking for a big.
Antetokounmpo’s relationship with the team, per sources, remains solid. But obviously, the Bucks can’t whiff on the next coach, whether it’s Prunty or any of a group of very capable former coaches currently between jobs who would certainly be interested in further grooming Antetokounmpo’s already blossoming game.
A league source with knowledge of the team’s thinking, though, insists there was no disagreement among the three owners, though, about firing Kidd. “Everyone was in full agreement,” the source said.
Eric Nehm: Giannis Antetokounmpo did confirm to us today that he reached out to Jason Kidd on Monday before he was officially notified by the team. However, he told us, “First of all, whatever private conversations happened between me and Coach, I’m going to keep it to myself.”
Matt Velazquez: Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t want to discuss his conversation with Jason Kidd on Monday, saying he wanted to keep private conversations private. Added that he felt “uncomfortable” that parts of that conversation were made public.
Matt Velazquez: Listened back to the audio and Giannis didn’t explicitly say he felt “uncomfortable” but he did say, “As a person, I like to keep my conversations private.” Some discomfort there, but not explicitly stated as I put in my previous tweet. twitter.com/Matt_Velazquez…
Since the Milwaukee Bucks dealt veteran center Greg Monroe to the Phoenix Suns, it’s no secret the team has explored ways to find an adequate replacement. “They’re looking for a physical center,’’ said a front office executive. “They have (John) Henson and they got (Thon) Maker, but they don’t have that physical big.’’
The Bucks are probably going to be in the market to fill a need equally as important: a shooter – especially with Mirza Teletovic’s future up in the air. Teletovic is sidelined indefinitely with blood clots in both of his lungs. “They (the Bucks) are a pretty good team,’’ said a veteran NBA advanced scout, who saw the Bucks up close and personal in recent weeks. “They can be really good on defense with their length, and they attack the basket pretty well on offense with Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and they have some good mid-range shooters like (Kris) Middleton and (Tony) Snell. “They just don’t have outside shooters. I see that as their biggest weakness.’’
With salaries having skyrocketed over the summer, thanks in large measure to an extremely lucrative television contract, multiple sources claim Jabari Parker will be seeking a contract similar to the one he expected to receive prior to his latest injury – a max contract of five years for anywhere between $146 million (25 percent of the salary cap) to $175M (30 percent of the cap). It will be perhaps the biggest assignment new Bucks general manager Jon Horst, who had been the team’s director of basketball operations before his shocking promotion to GM, will ever have deal with in his role. It won’t be for Mark Bartelstein, Parker’s new agent. Bartelstein, who heads up Chicago-based Priority Sports and Entertainment, is a longtime agent and regarded as one of the premier agents in sports.
Darren Wolfson: The Bucks have hopped in on FA Dante Cunningham, I hear. Milt Newton/Matt Bollero connection. #Twolves still trying and being patient.
The Milwaukee Bucks Basketball Operations department has expanded with the following additions: Milt Newton as Assistant General Manager, David Mincberg as Director of Basketball Strategy, Tony Bollier as Director of Basketball Operations and Ronald Dupree as Scout. The team also named Frank Johnson as Assistant Coach. “Our basketball operations department continues to take shape and I’m very excited about the additions of Milt, David, Tony and Ronald,” said General Manager Jon Horst. “Together they bring a wealth of experience that will serve our organization extremely well. I look forward to working with them as we continue to assemble a championship-caliber organization.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Milt Newton is finalizing a deal to become assistant GM with Milwaukee. He was Minnesota’s GM under Flip Saunders’ regime.
When the smoke cleared, the survivor was Horst, the Bucks’ director of basketball operations since 2008, when he moved from Detroit as a Hammond and Joe Dumars protégé. “Jon’s extremely bright, a high character person who stands for what he believes in, and he has a great knowledge of this business at a young age,” Hammond said last week. “You think about how young Jon is, but he’s never done anything else in this workaday world except the NBA. He’s very deserving of the opportunity and I expect him to do extremely well.”
Jon Horst: I never had a schedule in mind. But since I started working in the NBA, I had a dream of ending up on top of a basketball operations and had a goal to run a franchise. My approach has always been to be the best at what you do, in your current role. Excel at it, embrace it, and then when other opportunities present themselves, people will look to you. I’ve done that every step of the way, and I’ve gotten opportunities to advance. Although I’m 34 years old, this is my 13th season working with an NBA team, from starting as an intern all the way to being general manager of a franchise. So, I do have quite a bit of experience in the league.
NBA.com: With all due respect, people will be watching to see if you have the heft to say “no” to Jason Kidd or to the owners who are signing your paycheck. How you address those concerns? JH: Obviously, ownership is ownership. Jason Kidd is our coach. They’re going to be involved in everything we do. But in taking this job, we talked about these things. Ultimately, I’ve been hired to run the basketball operations for the Milwaukee Bucks, to have the final say and to make the final decisions. I’m going to operate as such, and I have their support in doing that. The only way you can really set aside those concerns is by living it every day and watching the transactions unfold.
Ian Begley: Knicks’ Mark Hughes also interviewed with Milwaukee for the assistant GM job earlier this month. He’s well-respected around the league.
New York Knicks Director of Pro Player Personnel Mark Hughes has interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks’ assistant general manager opening, per league sources. Hughes, a veteran executive with the Knicks organization since 2007, also interviewed for the Atlanta Hawks GM position earlier in the offseason. He has been one of the key figures in the Knicks’ recent draft success, which includes Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, the recently re-signed Tim Hardaway Jr., Channing Frye and Danilo Gallinari.
Add Mark Hughes to the list of candidates for the Bucks’ vacant assistant general manager’s position. Hughes has been the director of player personnel for the New York Knicks since 2011.
One person whom the Bucks have shown interest in is Jim Paxson, who was the general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1999-2005. Paxson, 60, is now a consultant for the Chicago Bulls and has been in Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League games. According to sources, he met with Bucks officials about the assistant GM job.
The latter has since been a consultant for some NBA teams and now has emerged as a serious candidate for the Milwaukee Bucks’ vacant assistant general manager’s position. Newton, who had been Washington’s vice president of player personnel before working in Minnesota, met with Bucks officials earlier this week in Las Vegas. Among the Bucks’ contingent was recently-hired general manager Jon Horst and head coach Jason Kidd. Newton is one of several individuals under consideration for the assistant GM job, which became vacant when the Bucks fired Justin Zanik.
Milt Newton, who had been Washington’s vice president of player personnel before working in Minnesota, met with Bucks officials earlier this week in Las Vegas. Among the Bucks’ contingent was recently-hired general manager Jon Horst and head coach Jason Kidd. Newton is one of several individuals under consideration for the assistant GM job, which became vacant when the Bucks fired Justin Zanik.
As reported earlier by WPB, Chicago Bulls consultant Jim Paxson interviewed with the Bucks for the position earlier this week. It has also been learned Glen Grunwald and Gerald Madkins are under consideration for the job.
If there is anyone in the Milwaukee Bucks’ basketball operations who should be dubbed “Mr. Buck,’’ it’s Dave Babcock. Babcock has been with the organization for two decades and has exhibited unfailing loyalty, having passed on several offers from other teams over the years. During his 20-year tenure with the Bucks, Babcock has had several titles, most recently vice president of player personnel. However, sources said Babcock was recently stripped of the title by the Bucks hierarchy and is now a regional scout for the NBA team. He and wife, Dori, are expected to move to Arizona.
Babcock’s reassignment shocked many in the NBA community. “I don’t know why they would do that; that’s a mistake,’’ a veteran Eastern Conference official said. “Dave’s an excellent talent evaluator, one of the best, hard-working, conscientious. He was really good at his job.’’ Added a Western Conference official: “This doesn’t make any sense. Dave’s a very good basketball guy; he knows our league as well as anyone.’’
Jerry Zgoda: Bucks announce they have hired Wolves pro personnel scout Matt Bollero as their scouting director. Good gig and good luck to him!
Jeff Zillgitt: Bucks add to front-office staff, promote Dave Dean to VP basketball ops/GM of G-League Wisconsin Herd. pic.twitter.com/ijLLNtUZ8T
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.
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
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April 26, 2018 | 5:44 am EDT Update
No compensation will be needed to hire Budenholzer — once thought of as a potential stumbling block to any potential deal. The Post previously reported an NBA source saying Budenholzer considers the Knicks his “top choice.” “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes,’’ the source told The Post. “He wants to live in New York.’’
Sources have indicated the Knicks have strong feelings for the defensive-minded Budenholzer, who guided the Hawks to the playoffs in four of his first five seasons. The Knicks are well aware of the good work he did helping Tim Hardaway Jr.’s career when he played in Atlanta. The drawback is they have no prior connection to him, but the plus is he’s part of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree.
LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball have ended their stint in Lithuania because both of the brothers are hurt and there are only two games left in the season, sources close to the Ball family told ESPN’s Chris Haynes. The early exit had the approval of the team, BC Vytautas, the sources told Haynes.
LaVar Ball, the brothers’ father, told 15min.lt that LaMelo would not return to the team next season. “You really ask me this? Coach ruined everything, and he’ll have to pay the price that Melo is not coming back,” he said.
Here’s what Victor Oladipo, who was the one James swatted, had to say about it: “I got a step on him (LeBron James), felt like I even got grabbed on the way to the rim, tried to shoot a layup, it hit the backboard, then he blocked it. There’s replays … I guess it’s a tough plays at the time for ’em, but it was a goaltend. I mean, it’s hard to even speak on it. It just sucks, honestly. It really sucks.”
Sam Amico: LeBron James on Victor Oladipo shot at end: “I definitely thought it was a goaltend.” (Laughter from media, LeBron smiles). “Of course I didn’t think it was a goaltend.” #Cavs #Pacers #NBAPlayoffs