Report: Bucks have narrowed down GM candidates to three

MILWAUKEE — Two weeks after general manager John Hammond left the Milwaukee Bucks for the Orlando Magic, his former team has reportedly narrowed its choices down to three for its next GM.

Arturas Karnisovas (Denver Nuggets, Assistant GM), Wes Wilcox (Atlanta Hawks, Ownership Advisor), and Justin Zanik (Milwaukee Bucks, Interim GM) are the finalists, according to The Vertical. The Bucks held interviews in New York City Monday and Tuesday and will invite Karnisovas and Wilcox to Milwaukee later this week.

Team owners Jamie Dinan, Wes Edens, and Marc Lasry will continue to be involved in the hiring process while Zanik takes care of pre-draft responsibilities. Upon his hire last June, Zanik had received the moniker “GM-in-waiting” but team president Peter Feigin told the Wisconsin Sports Zone Network at the time that’s not true.

Karnisovas was nearly hired to be the next GM in Brooklyn last season, but took an assistant role in Denver under Tim Connelly. A former NBA player, Karnisovas also won two Olympic medals with the Lithuanian team.

Wilcox took over as GM of the Hawks in 2015, leading Atlanta to 48 and 43-win seasons thanks to his roster management. Since then, he’s taken a more hands-off approach as an advisor.

No timetable has been set for when Milwaukee plans to make a hire, but it figures to come this month, with the NBA Draft set for June 22.

Report: Bucks opening up GM search to external candidates

MILWAUKEE — Despite initially receiving the moniker “GM-in-waiting,” Justin Zanik will have some competition if he wants to become the next general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Zanik was hired away from the Utah Jazz last summer to work alongside John Hammond, who signed a five-year contract to take over as general manager of the Orlando Magic. In an interview with the Wisconsin Sports Zone Network last June, team president Peter Feigin gushed about Zanik as a “terrific hire,” but never committed to Zanik as Hammond’s replacement.

Hammond signed a contract extension two summers ago, taking him through the 2017-18 season. In the June interview, Feigin expected Hammond to eventually be on the same payment schedule as coach Jason Kidd, which would keep him on board through the 2019-2020 season.

“If you ask the owners, the intention would be that we’re making a commitment long-term…to have a plan and get somewhere in these first three to five seasons [under new ownership],” Feigin said. “…So there’s a plan to keep everyone intact.”

ESPN’s report about the Bucks’ GM search includes a detail stating that Milwaukee’s “special consultant,” Rod Thorn, would lead the way in the hiring process. Thorn cut his teeth in the NBA as a former GM of the Bulls and Nets, where he was responsible for trading for Michael Jordan and Jason Kidd, respectively.