The Milwaukee Bucks’ future is nearly as big a question mark as their present. If not for the keen decision-making of long-time general manager John Hammond over recent years, the Bucks’ standing in league circles might be much more concrete. Of course, it also wouldn’t be nearly as promising.
Rewarding him for a crucial role in helping the team rise from its basketball nadir of 2013-14, Milwaukee afforded Hammond a one-year contract extension that will keep him with the club through 2016-17 – the same year coach Jason Kidd’s deal expires.
It was just yesterday that Hammond’s job seemed in great jeopardy as a result of the Bucks’ change on the sidelines. Kidd staged a coup of sorts with the Brooklyn Nets in June 2014, attempting to leverage a coaching offer from Milwaukee into assuming the role of Brooklyn general manager Billy King. But the Nets didn’t bite, leading to widespread speculation that Kidd’s potential position with the Forward State’s team would render Hammond irrelevant. That the former All-Star point guard has been a close friend of Milwaukee co-owner Marc Lasry for years only made those whispers louder, and they were even faintly heard again earlier this summer, too.
Kidd, however, was never granted the total basketball autonomy with the Bucks that he sought in New York, and he and Hammond peacefully coexisted as Milwaukee emerged as one of the league’s most pleasant surprises of the 2014-15 season. After news of his extension became public, Hammond insisted there was no difference in job responsibilities once Kidd came aboard and that the two share a mutually beneficial relationship.
“I believe there’s a great amount of respect Jason and I have for each other,” he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “There was no change whatsoever. I continued to do my job the same as I always have. It was a matter of two people getting to know each other on a professional level.”