Jon Horst

Central Notes: Rose, Beilein, Giannis, Brogdon

Guard Derrick Rose signed with the Pistons because he feels the team can contend, Vince Ellis of the Free Press writes. Rose inked a two-year, $15MM deal with Detroit in free agency to lead its second unit. “I’ve had all the accolades in the past. I’m past that. Now I want to win,” he said. “The only thing on my résumé I’m missing is a championship and being here, seeing what happened last year with the Raptors in (the) East, you never know what can happen.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are amazed by new coach John Beilein’s work ethic and the 66-year-old’s energy level, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “He has more energy than I do,” forward Larry Nance Jr. said. “He’s always going, always has something on his mind, always something he’s ready to talk about, teach and coach. It’s really exciting to see because as a player that’s what you want. You want somebody that is so eager to get started that they can’t even slow down.
  • The Bucks bet on continuity in their efforts to convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign a super-max extension next summer, Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. They managed to re-sign Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and George Hill in free agency and only lost one starter, Malcolm Brogdon. “We brought back a big part of the group; we believe in continuity,” GM Jon Horst said. “We think that gives us an advantage to have continuity. … This group looks like they’re growing, looks like they’re getting better, looks like they fit and they make sense and that we can compete and sustain success for a long period of time with this group and that’s been the goal.”
  • Despite Brogdon’s departure, the Bucks have plenty of options at shooting guard and small forward, Ben Steele of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out. “I think the vision going forward is with the addition of Wes Matthews and Kyle Korver as wings that have proven that they are elite-level shooters and great defenders,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Got young guys like Donte (DiVincenzo), Pat (Connaughton) and Sterling (Brown) that are all proven to some degree.” Hill, who signed a three-year, $29MM deal, is another option for Budenholzer.

Bucks Fined By NBA For Comments On Super-Max For Giannis

The Bucks have been hit with a $50K fine by the NBA, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets that the club violated league rules related to the timing of player contract comments. According to Charania, the fine stems from the Bucks publicly discussing their plans to offer Giannis Antetokounmpo a super-max contract.

Antetokounmpo is not yet eligible for that five-year Designated Veteran Extension, so league rules prohibit the team from discussing it, as the NBA noted in a press release confirming the fine.

“Under NBA rules, teams cannot commit to offer a ‘super-max’ extension prior to the summer following a player’s seventh season in the NBA,” the NBA said in its statement.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Designated Veteran Extension]

The comments about a super-max deal for Giannis were made by Bucks general manager Jon Horst at a televised fan event earlier this month.

“The answer for now is that we can’t negotiate anything,” Horst said when asked about Antetokounmpo’s contract status.  “So Giannis, basically a year from now will be eligible for a super-max extension. At that time, of course, he will be offered a super-max extension.”

The Bucks technically violated the NBA’s circumvention rules when discussing the reigning MVP’s future, as Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights observes (via Twitter). Still, Horst’s comments are pretty innocuous. While the Bucks can’t exactly “tamper” with their own player, I wonder if the NBA is looking to draw a clear line on this sort of public statement in the wake of its introduction of new anti-tampering measures.

Bucks co-owner Wes Edens also recently told TMZ that the franchise wants to keep Antetokounmpo for “the rest of his basketball career,” but given the lack of specificity involved in that statement, it’s unlikely to run afoul of the league’s circumvention rules.

Central Notes: Horst, Pistons, Kornet, Holidays

Eric Nehm of The Athletic recently sat down with the Bucks’ award-winning GM Jon Horst to discuss the team’s free agency this summer. Here are a few noteworthy passages from Horst’s interview.

Regarding the team’s ability to bring back Khris Middleton on a five-year deal:

“Khris was always a focus… He’s our second superstar, our second star. He’s an All-Star. He’s been one of our best players for a long period of time here… Khris was a target obviously and he got a contract that represents that and we think it’s a great contract because we got our second All-Star locked up for the next five years.”

Regarding the team’s trade of Tony Snell and a first-round pick for Jon Leuer in order to create the requisite cap space needed to re-sign Brook Lopez:

“When we got Brook last offseason, we understood, at some level, how important he was going to be to us… (and) we also understood if he’s as good as we think he’s going to be, it’s going to present a lot of challenges.”

“So, we spent the entire year trying to prepare for that… Just different things we did throughout the year were in preparation to position ourselves to either be prepared to keep Brook, be in a position to keep Brook or be prepared to react if we couldn’t… I don’t know if a lot of people saw it coming, maybe after the Tony Snell deal. Then, maybe they were like, ‘Okay, this is how they’re going to try to do it.’ But before that, I don’t think people saw the moves we lined up to position ourselves to hopefully keep Brook and I’m very thankful we were able to.”

Regarding the decision to trade RFA Malcolm Brogdon to Indiana and whether the luxury tax was a factor in that decision:

“I think there’s a lot that goes into restricted free agency. It’s a monster. Malcolm is very, very important and we knew how important he was to our team. It will be hard to replace him. I think we’ve done the best that we can and we’ll continue to work in ways to be creative and fill that gap.”

“I would say the luxury tax was only part of the consideration for not matching or not being willing to pay Malcolm the market that he was able to get from Indiana. Whether or not he had that market from anywhere else besides Indiana, I don’t know. The decision on Malcolm was much more about our internal evaluations, the roster fit, the ability to be flexible and have options going forward and just building a team that, as I always say, can sustain success over a long period.”

There’s more from the Central Division this afternoon:
  • Horst confirmed in the above interview that the Bucks were not able to create a traded player exception when they traded Brogdon to Indiana, as the signing of George Hill with cap space occurred after the trade, and teams lose their exceptions (other than the Room MLE) when they go under the cap.
  • Taking a look at what each player’s role may be for the Pistons’ during the 2019/20 season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com opines that there are five guys locked in to being sure-fire rotation pieces – Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, and Derrick Rose, and three who will almost certainly join that group – Markieff Morris, Tony Snell, and Bruce Brown.
  • The Bulls are hoping that the three-point shooting ability of free-agent addition, big man Luke Kornet, will be a nice complement next to starter Wendell Carter Jr. and fellow reserve, rookie Daniel Gafford, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com.
  • Pacers’ new addition Justin Holiday is excited about the prospect of playing with his baby brother, reserve point guard Aaron Holiday, reports Scott Agness of The Athletic. “It was the best situation I had at this time,” Justin said. “(T)he Pacers obviously being a contender every year and going to the playoffs, and then also them having my brother was something that was very, very enticing for me. To be able to be a part of that culture and play with my brother, I think it made it pretty simple where I needed to go.”

Bucks GM Jon Horst Wins Executive Of Year

Bucks GM Jon Horst was named the league’s Executive of the Year at the league’s annual awards show on Monday.

Horst edged out the Nuggets’ Tim Connelly for the honor. Horst collected 72 total points and 10 first-place votes, while Connelly accumulated 69 points and received nine first-place votes. Lawrence Frank of the Clippers (26 points) was third and the Raptors’ Masai Ujiri (21 points) was fourth.

The votes were tabulated after the regular season and undoubtedly Ujiri would have gotten more votes if the postseason was factored in.

Horst, who is just 36 years old, was named GM in June 2017. He made several shrewd moves that helped make the Bucks the league’s premier team during the regular season, including the hiring of Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer. The signing of center Brook Lopez last summer turned out to be one of the league’s best free agent pickups and he also brought in key reserve Pat Connaughton.

Bucks Sign GM Jon Horst To Contract Extension

The Bucks have signed general manager Jon Horst to a contract extension, the team announced today in a press release. Horst, whose deal would have expired in 2020, received a three-year extension, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“Jon’s strong leadership and savvy decision-making ability have been instrumental as we continue to build the Bucks into a championship-caliber organization,” Bucks co-owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, and Jamie Dinan said in a statement. “He has brought smart processes to our basketball operations and together with head coach Mike Budenholzer and president Peter Feigin, Jon has done an incredible job connecting the basketball and business sides of our organization. We are excited about the future of our team and confident in Jon leading us to the highest level.”

When the Bucks were seeking a new head of basketball operations in 2017 following John Hammond‘s departure for Orlando, Horst was the surprise choice, receiving a promotion from his director of basketball operations role.

Under Horst’s watch, Milwaukee has improved from a middle-of-the-pack team to a legit championship contender. The Bucks won an NBA-best 60 games in 2018/19 and came within two games of the NBA Finals. It was the first time the club had won a playoff series since 2001.

While the continued growth of stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton contributed significantly to Milwaukee’s improvement, free agent and trade additions like Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe played key roles, as did Budenholzer, Horst’s first head coaching hire.

As we relayed last week, Horst has been the NBA’s lowest-paid general manager during his first two years on the job, so his extension will almost certainly come with a raise. Financial details of his new deal aren’t yet known.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks GM Jon Horst In Line For Extension, Raise?

Having been named the Bucks‘ new general manager in June 2017, Jon Horst now just has one year left on the three-year deal he received at that time, per Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box. According to Woelfel, “word is circulating” around the league that Horst will seek a raise on a contract extension this offseason.

After building a roster that won 60 games and made the Eastern Conference Finals this season, Horst is certainly deserving of an extension, and sources tell Woelfel that Bucks ownership is amenable to working out a new agreement. However, it remains to be seen what Horst’s salary would look like on such an extension.

According to Woelfel, Horst has been the NBA’s lowest-paid GM over the last couple years, with several league officials suggesting that his annual salary is in the $500K range (that figure was also reported by ESPN shortly after Horst’s promotion). The NBA’s highest-paid executives earn salaries in the neighborhood of $8-10MM per year, Woelfel notes.

While Horst’s next deal should certainly be more lucrative than his current one, the Bucks’ ownership group is probably unlikely to make an offer that puts the young GM among the highest-paid execs in the league.

“If you asked me what would be a fair deal for him, I’d say around $3MM (per year),” one NBA executive told Woelfel. “That’s about the average salary for a GM and I think he’s regarded as an average GM. But knowing (the Bucks’ owners), I don’t think he’s going to get even that.”

While the Bucks’ owners may not have a reputation as huge spenders, co-owner Marc Lasry has stated the team intends to do everything it can to win and will attempt to keep all its core players this offseason. I expect the club will pay what it takes to get Horst locked up for the next few years.

Bucks Notes: Brogdon, Hill, Horst

Malcolm Brogdon won’t be available for tomorrow’s Game 4, but he continues to make progress and could return soon, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN. Brogdon hasn’t played since March 15 because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but coach Mike Budenholzer said today that his condition is improving.

“I think he’s getting close,” Budenholzer said, adding that Brogdon has been able to participate in five-on-five games three times. The former Rookie of the Year was an important contributor for Milwaukee this season, putting up a 50/40/90 shooting line before the injury.

There’s more Bucks news to pass along:

  • Brogdon’s history of foot issues could impact his value as a restricted free agent this summer, writes Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’sPressBox. He slipped down some teams’ draft boards in 2016 after having surgery on his left foot at Virginia, enabling the Bucks to grab him with the 36th pick. Brogdon played just 48 games last season and 64 this year, leaving many rival front offices eager to see how he would perform in the postseason. “I’ll be honest with you; we’re still concerned about his foot problem like we did when he came out in the draft,’’ an unidentified NBA executive told Woelfel. “I want to see how he does in the playoffs. I think he needs to play in the playoffs to show teams he’s fine. That’s going to tell what kind of deal he gets this summer.’’ He estimated that Brogdon could get an offer starting between $14MM and $16MM per season if teams believe he can stay healthy.
  • George Hill is providing a veteran presence in his first playoffs with the Bucks, observes Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Bucks had a financial incentive when they made a deal with Cleveland in December to acquire Hill, who has just a $1MM guarantee for next season. But they also welcomed the postseason experience that he brought to the backcourt. “He’s been a vet in this league,” said teammate Eric Bledsoe. “He knows what it takes. He’s been to the championship; he’s been to the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s no surprise what he’s doing.”
  • GM Jon Horst set the groundwork for turning the Bucks into a contender after being hired as the youngest general manager in the league in 2017, writes Lori Nickel of The Journal Sentinel.

Central Notes: Bledsoe, Pachulia, Love, Bucks

The final year of Eric Bledsoe’s $70MM contract extension with the Bucks has a $3.9MM partial guarantee in the final season, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The extension became official on Monday.

Bledsoe’s $19.375MM salary that season would be fully guaranteed if he’s on the roster beyond June 30, 2022, Charania adds. The cap hits for the first three years of the extension are $15.62MM, $16.87MM and $18.12MM, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Bledsoe, who is not eligible to be traded until September 4, will rank 13th in salary next season among point guards around the league, and that doesn’t include impending free agents Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell, Marks adds.

We have more news from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons reserve center Zaza Pachulia has been fined $25K by the league for confronting and verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon being ejected, according to an NBA press release. Pachulia was tossed against Toronto in the second quarter on Sunday after arguing a no-call and getting assessed two technicals.
  • Kevin Love has no regrets about signing an extension with the Cavaliers this summer but he wishes he could have been a bigger part of their season, as he explained to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.  Love missed a chunk of the season after undergoing foot surgery and the Cavaliers soon went in rebuild mode. “There have been some bright spots in terms of younger guys getting better,” he said. “But it’s been tough, especially stepping into a leadership role and then you’re not out there for three months.” Love also weighed in on the Zion Williamson situation, saying the Duke star and likely No. 1 overall pick shouldn’t return this season from his knee sprain, “If I were him, I’d probably say, especially after a scare like this, I’d heavily consider telling the NCAA to pay us or else shutting it down and doing what’s best for his family,” Love said. “That kid is really an exceptional talent … I would lean toward not coming back.”
  • Bucks GM Jon Horst deserves more credit for the team’s success, Matt John of Basketball Insiders argues. Trades and free agent signings that brought in Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova, Brook Lopez and Nikola Mirotic greased the skids for Milwaukee’s rise to the top of the Eastern Conference. Horst also made other moves that improve the team’s salary-cap flexibility going forward, John adds.

Central Rumors: Cavs Roster, Kennard, Lopez

The Cavaliers plan to leave an open spot on the roster heading into training camp, Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Cleveland currently has 12 players on guaranteed deals and has filled both of its two-way slots. The Cavs are holding spots for both restricted free agent Rodney Hood, whose negotiations with the organization have stalled, and free agent guard David Nwaba, who has agreed to a contract but is still working out all the details, according to Vardon. Training-camp invitees will battle for the final spot on the 15-man roster, Vardon adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers will allow the remainder of their trade exception from the Kyrie Irving deal to expire on Wednesday but they still have two more exceptions, Vardon notes in the same piece. It has exceptions of $2.5MM and $1.3MM from the deal that sent Richard Jefferson and Kay Felder to the Hawks last season. Those exceptions expire on October 15th.
  • Pistons swingman Luke Kennard could have an expanded role in his second season, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com. New coach Dwane Casey wants Kennard to handle the ball more often and become a playmaker, Khan continues. He could see action at three positions, though he will primarily back up Reggie Bullock at shooting guard, Khan adds.
  • Free agent acquisitions Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova fit the current NBA model of big men who can stretch the floor, Bucks GM Jon Horst declares in a video clip posted on the team’s Twitter feed“With Brook and Ersan, you have guys that have great size, that can shoot the three. They compete on both ends of the floor and have high basketball IQ,” Horst said.

Notes & Reactions On The Jabari Parker Signing

The Bucks felt that the organization and Jabari Parker were trending in different directions, league sources tell Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The team let Jabari Parker become an unrestricted free agent, allowing him to sign a two-year, $40MM deal with the Bulls.

Schultz notes that GM Jon Horst didn’t have to rescind the qualifying offer which kept Parker as a restricted free agent, but he did so to allow Parker the ability to negotiate the best possible deal with Chicago.

Here are more notes and reactions from around the league:

  • For Parker to provide good value at $20MM per season, he’ll have to develop into an All-Star caliber player, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com writes. Pelton can envision a scenario where Parker continues to be limited defensively and becomes what amounts to a high-scoring sixth man. The scribe sees that value to be comparable to Will Barton‘s deal, one that will pay the wing an annual value of $13.5MM.
  • The Bucks would have had to part with either a productive player or attach an asset in order to dump one of their players with larger, unfriendly contract if they intended to sign Parker and stay under the luxury tax, Pelton notes in the same piece. Pelton evaluates Milwaukee’s roster and finds that it didn’t have any smaller contracts that provided poor value, meaning the franchise would have had to find takers for either Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell or John Henson, something that’s easier said than done.
  • The Bucks are set to have $116MM on the books this season after the signings of Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (ESPN now link). Milwaukee’s future cap space will be dependent on what Khris Middleton does with his $13MM player option next season. If he opts out and Eric Bledsoe does not return, the team could have upwards of $28MM in cap space.