Congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks for hiring as GM the candidate who wasn’t even a candidate, and who no one in charge actually wanted.
The Bucks are finalizing a contract for Jon Horst, currently the team’s director of basketball operations, to take over as GM from John Hammond, who left for the Orlando gig. Adrian Wojnarowski reported this morning that they were “closing in” on the hiring, Marc Stein reported it as a done deal this afternoon, and the Journal-Sentinel says an official announcement is coming today.
Haven’t heard of Horst? Don’t feel bad. A Bucks fan emailed to say he hadn’t heard of Horst either. The front office sure as hell wasn’t considering him for the job.
Horst wasn’t one of the six executives the team interviewed June 5-6 in New York. He also wasn’t one of the three finalists the team brought to Milwaukee last week for further conversations.
The position came down to Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik and Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas. When Denver promoted Karnisovas to GM, removing him from consideration, that would seem to have handed the job to Zanik. But according to multiple reports, there was strong disagreement among the Bucks’ ownership about Zanik.
That would imply that co-owner Wes Edens was against hiring Zanik. Part of the risks of fractional ownership and decision-making, I suppose.
ESPN says Zanik had been overseeing the team’s preparations for next week’s draft, and that’s it’s unclear if he’ll stay in the organization after being passed over for this job. (I would wager not.) The Bucks will reportedly seek a veteran personnel person to pair with Horst, which makes you wonder why they didn’t just hire that person to be GM in the first place.
I was unable to find out any information about Horst, including a photograph of him or his age. I doubt it but I really hope this is him.