Whenever an NBA executive moves from one team to another, it isn’t unusual for that individual to take along several of his co-workers
But, barring something unforeseen, don’t expect that to be the case with John Hammond, who recently left the Milwaukee Bucks as their general manager for a similar position with the Orlando Magic.
While Hammond spent nine seasons with the Bucks, only one person from that organization is expected to join him in Orlando.
That is John Horst, who has known and worked with Hammond for more than a decade. Horst was the Detroit Pistons’ basketball operations manager for three years under Hammond in Detroit and then joined the Bucks shortly after Hammond was hired as the Bucks GM in 2008. Horst has been the Bucks’ director of basketball operations.
League sources said the Bucks’ hierarchy was originally reluctant to allow Horst to go with Hammond but have since back off to the point where it’s only a matter of time before his departure, sources said.
There was ample speculation Billy McKinney, another longtime co-worker and close friend of Hammond’s, was going to bolt to Orlando as well.
But McKinney, the Bucks’ vice president of scouting who has known Hammond since their childhood days in Zion, Ill., apparently doesn’t have any intentions of joining Hammond in Orlando at this point.
Dave Babcock, the Bucks’ vice president of player personnel, is also expected to remain with the Bucks.
Decision appears close
The three finalists for the Bucks’ vacant GM job – Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik, Denver assistant Arturas Karnisovas and ex-Atlanta GM Wes Wilcox –all interviewed with Bucks officials on Friday.
There are indications Bucks officials will move quickly in making their decision, especially with the draft set for June 22.
The Bucks have the 17th overall pick in the June 22 draft, but two players who are expected to be chosen in the middle of the first round aren’t scheduled to work out for the team.
They are sharp-shooting guard Luke Kennard of Duke and Duke center Harry Giles, who is highly skilled but has been beset by knee issues.
Kennard could go as high as No. 8 to New York but could also slip to the Bucks at 17. Giles has, or will, work out with several teams picking in the middle of the first round, including Detroit (12th pick), Miami (No. 14), Chicago (No. 16) and Indiana (No. 18).
Bucks eyed Karnisovas before
This isn’t the first time Karnisovas has been contacted by the Bucks about a spot in their organization. Then Bucks general manager Larry Harris, now an executive with the Golden State Warriors, had interest in hiring Karnisovas as a scout just over a decade ago.