John Hammond

Bucks GM Search Down To Two Candidates?

The Bucks will likely choose between their assistant GM, Justin Zanik, and Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas as their next GM, league sources informed Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Milwaukee could announce its choice as early as this week, Stein adds (Twitter links).

The position opened up when John Hammond was named the Magic’s GM last month. Zanik was hired as Hammond’s assistant last season after serving as an assistant GM in the Jazz organization for three years. Hammond had been the Bucks’ GM since 2008 after serving as the top assistant to former Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars.

Karnisovas was hired by Denver in 2013 and is currently working under Nuggets GM Tim Connelly. He was a candidate for the Nets’ GM job last season but Brooklyn ultimately chose Sean Marks.

Latest On Bucks’ GM Search

Milwaukee will begin formal interviews for its open GM position on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports.

The team has been granted permission to speak with Blazer assistant GM Bill Branch, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, according to Wojnarowski.

The scribe adds that the Bucks have reached out to the Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon about the opening. Hammon has been working under coach Gregg Popovich for three seasons.

Milwaukee previously reached out to Indiana and gained permission to speak with the team’s VP of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie. Wojnarowski adds that the franchise also has permission to speak with Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Grizzlies VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski and Hawks special advisor Wes Wilcox.

Justin Zanik, who is currently running the team as its assistant GM, remains a strong candidate for the position. Zanik is gathering “significant support” inside and outside the organization, Wojnarowski writes. He joined the team with the expectation that he would be the GM-in-waiting once John Hammond‘s contract expired. Hammond recently left the franchise to become Orlando’s GM.

Bucks Plan ‘Broad Search’ For Next GM

The Bucks plan to examine numerous candidates for their newly open GM post, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

The team will conduct a “broad search” to find a replacement for John Hammond, who has taken over as the GM in Orlando. The effort will be led by veteran NBA executive Rod Thorn, who serves as a consultant to the Bucks.

Hammond had a year left on his contract in Milwaukee, but he was given permission to interview with the Magic earlier this month. Hammond’s hiring appeared inevitable once Orlando brought in his longtime colleague, Jeff Weltman, as its president of basketball operations.

Justin Zanik, Milwaukee’s assistant GM, will be among the candidates interviewed for the position and will receive strong consideration, a source told Stein. It has been reported in the past that Zanik was a GM-in-waiting who would take over once Hammond’s contract expired, but Stein states that the job was never promised to him

Hammond spent nine years as GM in Milwaukee, putting together a team that made four playoff appearances. His legacy will include drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is on the verge of becoming one of the league’s best players.

The Bucks will be looking for a GM who can build on the young talent that Hammond assembled and produce a regular title contender.

Magic Hire John Hammond As GM

2:15 PM: Orlando has named Hammond its new GM, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

“John [Hammond] brings tremendous experience and is a great talent evaluator,” Weltman said today. “He has experiences 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.”

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports that Hammons’ new deal with the Magic will be for five years. The 62-year-old executive had one year remaining on his contract in Milwaukee, but ownership had indicated that it was unlikely to bring Hammond back beyond his current deal. The Bucks agreed to let him out of that contract in order to clear the way for Zanik to become the GM.

1:14 PM: Bucks GM John Hammond is expected to be named the Magic’s new GM, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Orlando hired Hammond’s long-term colleague Jeff Weltman as team president earlier today.

Stein adds that if Hammond heads to Florida as expected, Justin Zanik will become the Bucks new GM. Milwaukee hired Zanik as the team’s assistant GM last summer. Prior to joining the Bucks, Zanik spent three years as the assistant GM of the Jazz.

Hammond has been the Bucks’ GM since 2008. He previously worked in the Pistons’ front office and he also had several assistant coaching stints in the NBA and college ranks.

Magic Choose Weltman As President of Basketball Operations

MAY 23, 9:31am: The Magic have announced the hiring of Weltman and will hold a press conference Wednesday, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.

MAY 22, 6:54pm: Bucks GM John Hammond also interviewed for the job, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

5:43pm: Raptors GM Jeff Weltman has reached a five-year agreement with the Magic to become their President of Basketball Operations, sources told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal was finalized in a meeting between Weltman and Orlando’s CEO Alex Martins, as well as the team’s ownership group, Wojnarowski continues. He replaces Rob Hennigan, who was fired last month.

The Magic had seriously considered making an offer to Cavaliers GM David Griffin, but focused their attention on Weltman in recent weeks, Wojnarowski adds. Weltman had been working under Raptors president Masai Ujiri. He previously had high-level jobs with the Bucks and Nuggets after starting his front-office career with the Clippers. He had been with the Raptors since 2013 after leaving the Bucks organization.

Weltman will have the ability to hire a GM who’ll report to him but Matt Lloyd, who had been serving as the interim GM, could remain with the organization, Wojnarowski adds.

The Raptors will likely fill the GM vacancy with assistant GM Bobby Webster, Toronto beat reporter Doug Smith tweets.

Magic Await Permission To Talk To David Griffin

The Magic have submitted a formal request to the Cavaliers to speak with GM David Griffin, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Griffin is believed to be the front-runner to become Orlando’s president of basketball operations, with a report last month saying he will be offered the job when he becomes available.

The Cavaliers have not responded to the request, Wojnarowski adds, and have the option of holding onto Griffin until his contract expires at the end of June. With free agency starting July 1st, it’s possible that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert will deny the interview request as a stall tactic to see if Orlando turns to someone else.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that Gilbert hasn’t made a substantive offer to try to keep Griffin, who built the Cavaliers into a championship team after LeBron James returned in 2014. James has been an outspoken advocate of keeping the GM, but his public comments seem to have had little effect on negotiations.

The Magic are getting ready to start interviewing other candidates for the position, including Hall of Famer Kevin McHale and Bucks GM John Hammond, who still has a year left on his contract in Milwaukee. Interim Magic GM Matt Lloyd has already been through the interview process and is highly thought of in the organization, according to Wojnarowski.

Orlando launched a front-office shakeup when the season ended, firing GM Rob Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry. The Magic plan to put control of the front office in the hands of a president, who will then hire the next GM.

The team faces competition from the Hawks, who recently relieved Wes Wilcox of GM duties. Griffin is seen as a candidate in Atlanta, along with former Pistons executive Joe Dumars, Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Knicks director of player personnel Mark Hughes and former players and current TV analysts Chauncey Billups and Brent Barry. Wojnarowski reports that the Hawks have received permission to interview Rosas and Hughes.

Two More Candidates For President’s Post In Orlando

Two more names have emerged as contenders for the president of basketball operations role in Orlando, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

A report last weekend said the Magic will offer the job to Cavaliers GM David Griffin when his team’s playoff run is over. Kevin McHale has also been mentioned as a possibility. Stein reveals that Milwaukee’s John Hammond and Toronto’s Jeff Weltman are under consideration as well.

Hammond has served as GM of the Bucks since 2008 and was named Executive of the Year in 2010. He received a one-year contract extension from the team last summer that will take him through next season, with the plan that he would transition to a consultant and be replaced by assistant GM Justin Zanik.

Weltman was promoted to GM of the Raptors last September. He joined the team in 2013 after five years as assistant GM of the Bucks. Weltman also held front office positions with the Pistons, Nuggets and Clippers.

The Magic have already started the interview process, but CEO Alex Martins said he expects it to take a long time.

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Heat, Millsap

Whenever the time comes that Heat president Pat Riley decides to step down, head coach Erik Spoelstra will be eager to fill the position. Spoelstra recently spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on his podcast.

The short answer would be, I’m a Pat Riley disciple. He’s always pushed me and nurtured me for the next step,” he said, adding that through both good and bad, the Heat feel like a family. The coach tempered expectations that anything imminent could happen, however.

But, yeah, Pat’s going to go on hopefully for a while though. I think he’s younger now than when he was coaching. […] I want this to be the set up that it is. I feel involved, I’m in every meeting that deals with the [Heat] organization and personnel.

Spoelstra has served as the head coach of the Heat since 2008 and was an assistant coach for ten years before that.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Though they may have ultimately lost, Dennis Schroder‘s performance in the first round of the postseason shows just what the Hawks see in him, writes Michael Lee of The Vertical. “Dennis’ competitive spirit and his competitive nature, I think we’re always going to bet on that first,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
  • With their cap space set to shrink in 2018/19, this is the last chance for the Heat to land a major free agent, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post writes. Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap could be possible options.
  • Although it appears they’ll offer Cavaliers general manager David Griffin their president of basketball operations position, John Hammond and David Morway are also on the Magic‘s short-list, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • It’s reasonable to expect Paul Millsap to opt out of his contract this summer but the Hawks forward hasn’t made any decisions about where he’ll go just yet, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.
  • The Wizards won’t need a seventh game to close out the Hawks but even if they did, center Ian Mahinmi wouldn’t have played in it, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. The big man had said that he hoped he would be able to recover from a strained calf in time to play in the first round.

And-Ones: Christmas, Calderon, Fultz, Parker, Dolan

A right Achilles tendon rupture has brought an end to Dionte Christmas‘ season, Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com reports. It’s an unfortunate development for the 30-year-old, as Christmas had averaged 14.9 points with 3.2 assists in 31 games with the Delaware 87ers. Delaware’s GM, Brandon Williams, lauded Christmas’ efforts in a team statement:

“[Christmas] has been a consummate professional, positive influence on the development of our young roster, and vital to our energy and drive. We will certainly miss his leadership on the court, but are inspired by his confidence as he attacks the next steps on the road to recovery.”

Other stories from around the league-

  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical profiled the Lakers, Nets, and Heat in his trade deadline series; three teams “in the rebuilding process that have limited assets.” Marks cites Jose Calderon as a buyout candidate for GM Mitch Kupchak; Calderon has previously been reported as a target for the Cavs. Trevor Booker and Brook Lopez, who are each under contract for the 2017/18 season, would provide “good value” for contending teams. While Miami’s front office have made deals in three straight trade deadlines, the Heat may be quiet come February 23. Miami has “depleted draft assets,” and appear unlikely to trade Goran Dragic or Hassan Whiteside.
  • The Vertical’s writing staff released their 2017 NBA Mock Draft, with Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Jackson going to the Celtics, Suns, and Lakers, respectively. The Vertical has Malik Monk of Kentucky falling to the Knicks at #10, calling him a good fit “under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.”
  • Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker‘s ACL injuries will create “tricky” rookie extension negotiations, Kevin Pelton of ESPN writes. While Parker’s value has been better established than LaVine’s entering contract discussions, Milwaukee GM John Hammond could limit risk by adding “guarantees based on games played” in Parker’s next contract.
  • James Dolan and Knicks management were subject to a scathing write-up from Michael Powell of the New York Times, who criticized Dolan’s lack of accountability in their confrontation. Phil Jackson, too, was targeted by Powell: “He [Jackson] fires off obscure Twitter posts poking Anthony in one rib or another, suggesting his skills are eroding and his hoop IQ low.”

Central Notes: Maker, Korver, Baynes, Parker

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report profiled Thon Maker of the Bucks; the team’s “Secret Unicorn.” Maker has been used sparingly in his rookie season – reaching double-digit minutes just four times – but has earned the respect of his colleagues in practice, earning the nickname “The Sheriff,” due to his vocal and attentive nature.

The reigning #10 overall NBA draft pick, Maker hadn’t been scouted as extensively as other players in the class of ’16. The Bucks selected Maker as a sign of confidence in their ability to nurture talent, Beck writes, opting for a “high-risk, high-ceiling” asset at No. 10.

“We look at the risk as being more minimal, only because we believe in the person,” Bucks GM John Hammond said regarding Maker.

Leading up to tonight’s match-up with the Lakers, coach Jason Kidd announced Maker would replace the injured Jabari Parker in Milwaukee’s starting five.

Other goings-on around the Central…

  • Kyle Korver has fit in nicely on the Cavaliers bench, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. Dubbed “The American Eagle” by teammates, Korver has averaged 10.4 points on 49.4% shooting from beyond the arc since being dealt to Cleveland. “Kyle is getting more and more comfortable with what we want to do offensively and defensively,” LeBron James said of his teammate. “The one by our bench that he caught that was thrown all the way over the top to our bench, and he just looked at the floor, and Glenn Robinson III was right in his face, and he still shot it? That’s just a sharpshooter right there.”
  • The Pistons bench has provided a lift on each end of the court, Rod Beard of The Detroit News writes. “Any time we start getting those stops, we get out in transition and that’s where we start looking good,” Aron Baynes said. “The coaches have been making a point that we need to get better all year. The last few games the starters have been taking that message and it’s fuel for the team.” The second unit’s excellent play is much-needed, as Detroit’s starting lineup have averaged 81.2PPG, 24th in the league.
  • Stephen Watson of WISN spoke with Bucks GM John Hammond, who noted “we feel comfortable with who we are,” following Parker‘s season-ending injury. While Hammond also mentioned “the trade deadline is approaching,” it appears the team does not have an immediate contingency plan to replace Parker in Kidd‘s rotation. Parker was having a career year prior to his ACL injury, averaging 20.1 points with 6.2 rebounds through 51 games. In the interim, Lakers coach Luke Walton said he expects Milwaukee to “rally around Parker’s situation,” according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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