NBA Executive of the Year goes to Bucks GM Jon Horst

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Jon Horst has been named NBA Executive of the Year. He becomes the second General Manager in Bucks history to win the award.

“We congratulate Jon on earning this well-deserved award,” Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan said. “Jon has played an instrumental role in building the Bucks into a championship-caliber organization and we are thrilled that his fellow team executives throughout the league recognize his great work.”

Horst was hired two years ago at the age of 34 becoming the youngest GM in the league. In his second season, Horst hired Mike Budenholzer, who was named the NBA Coach of the Year. He also made the decision to not bring back Jabari Parker. Horst signed center Brook Lopez and forward Ersan Illyasova in the offseason. He was able to shed the contracts of John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova. Horst has done a tremendous job consistently improving the roster.

“The team, Jon, that you put together – unbelievable,” Budenholzer said in his acceptance speech. “Every night we walked out we felt like we had a great chance and that’s because of the job you did.”

Horst earned a three-year contract extension, keeping him in Milwaukee through the end of the 2022-’23 campaign.

Bucks GM Jon Horst: We believe in the culture we are building

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Jon Horst addressed the media Wednesday morning in advance of the 2019 NBA Draft. He began the presser talking about the season that was and the success they had. Then, Horst answered questions about the No. 30 pick, dealing with the salary cap, the future of Khris Middleton and plenty more.

What to do with pick 30?

The Bucks will have the 30th pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night. Horst believes there are many directions they can go with the selection.

“All things are on the board right now, all the strategies, all the options,” Horst said. “30 has value to us as a franchise whether that’s putting a player on our roster today that can help us next season. There are some great draft and stash opportunities where we can draft a player and kind of put [him] in the cupboard and have another thing to access as we go down the road. And there are some great trade opportunities at No. 30…different ways to move down in the draft and pick up additional assets, maybe move things around roster wise and so there are a lot of things we’re discussing and looking at. I feel fully confident that we’ll make a great decision when it comes down to it but 30 has value and we’re lucky to have it.”

On Monday, Marc Stein reported that the Bucks are looking to move one of the contracts of Tony Snell or Ersan Illyasova. They are willing to offer draft compensation to a team that would take one of those contracts.

Milwaukee has many options to look at prior to the Draft Thursday. If they hold on to the pick it will be about best fit instead of best player available.

“It’s really for us best fit, and best fit meaning what does it do for the overall ability of us to keep the roster together we had last year, what does it do for us to take another step forward and what does it do to help us be transactional as we move forward,” Horst said.

How do you get better moving forward?

Horst shared his thoughts on the keys for the Bucks to improve heading into next season. He spoke about how they can be better internally citing experience as a big part of it. The Toronto Raptors won their first championship in team history just a week ago after years and years of coming up short. Of course, the main difference was Kawhi Leonard, but the way Kyle Lowry stepped up can’t be overstated.

It seems to be the formula in almost every sport. You must lose before you can win. All the greats have gone through it. Everyone from the players, to the coaches, to the front office believes the Bucks are just getting started.

Giannis Antetokounmpo will be better next season. He has improved his game every single year and at only 24 years old is the next superstar of the NBA. Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon will continue to improve as they settle into Mike Budenholzer’s system. Budenholzer and his staff will continue to learn and find new ways to attack offensively and defensively.

As far as players Horst would like to add, well, it starts with shooting.

“I think we always want shooting,” Horst said. “Shooting is what unlocks Giannis, it’s what helps him be great. I think that toughness and defensive mentality and rebounding, we kind of made our name this year by being the best defense in the league. We should double-down on that and continue to be the best defense in the league.”

How do you navigate the cap and luxury tax?

It’s no secret the amount of financial decisions the Bucks must make this offseason. How much money will they need to pay Middleton to keep him in Milwaukee? What will other teams offer Brogdon? Will Milwaukee be able to bring back Brook Lopez and/or George Hill?

Horst believes their cap is manageable and with their creativity they will continue to have sustained success while competing for championships.

Bucks’ co-owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and substantial owner Jamie Dinan are committed to bringing a championship to Milwaukee. When Horst was asked about the possibility of going into the luxury tax, he highlighted how committed the ownership group is to winning.

“There is no reason to believe that this ownership group will not pay a premium on dollars spent if they’re investing in something that can win and sustain winning over a long period of time,” Horst said. “And the other thing we have going on is we were just the best team in the NBA for seven out of nine months. We didn’t win it ultimately at the end and that is the goal but we’re right there.”

Good players cost good money and you need good players to win in this league. It is nice to know that Milwaukee is ready and willing to spend money to improve the team.

Milwaukee believes in what they’re building.

Does Middleton fit into the future?

Middleton is coming off an All-Star season with Milwaukee. He is considered by most to be the second best player on the Bucks. Middleton is due for a big pay day and the Bucks will need to decide if he’s worth it.

According to Horst, Middleton wants to be in Milwaukee and wants to be paid fairly. It will be interesting to see what the Bucks do with him and how much money he ends up getting.

Report: Bucks looking to trade Snell, Illyasova

The Milwaukee Bucks were two wins away from an NBA Finals appearance in 2019. Now, they head into the off-season with plenty of decisions to make as they try to improve their roster.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Bucks are looking for trade partners to take on the contract of Tony Snell or Ersan Illyasova.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Milwaukee will try to find a way to resign Khris Middleton who is an unrestricted free agent. Also, they will need to match any offer Malcolm Brogdon, a restricted free agent, receives. Not to mention Brook Lopez, Nikola Mirotic and George Hill who are all unrestricted free agents.

Milwaukee is confident in their young superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo that they are willing to go all in on their championship aspirations. The Bucks want to add cap flexibility and moving either one of Snell’s or Illyasova’s contract would offer them that.

Snell is a good player who has a lot to offer but is owed almost $24 million over the next two seasons. He is a two-way wing player who can knock down threes and play good defense. However, many people would argue that he is overpaid for the production he gives the team. Milwaukee may be better off finding minutes for their younger, less expensive role players like Sterling Brown or Donte DiVincenzo.

Illyasova’s contract is much more team friendly and would be easier to move. He can rebound, take charges and space the floor on offense. At $7 million per year, potential suitors may be more willing to take the “Turkish Hammer” off Milwaukee.

General Manager Jon Horst has already done a lot to help with Milwaukee’s salary cap. Last season, he was able to move the contracts of John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova.

The key in all of this will be that the Bucks are offering draft compensation. For now, we’ll have to wait and see.

Bucks assign Christian Wood to Herd

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks have assigned Christian Wood to the Wisconsin Herd.

Wood has performed well in the NBA G League. In 19 starts for the Herd this season, Wood is averaging 28.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.

In ten games with the Bucks, he is averaging 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 5.1 minutes per game.

Many Bucks’ fans on social media have been wanting to see Wood get more playing time. But there are just too many guys ahead of him to find quality minutes.

Now, with the addition of Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans, Wood will find it more difficult to get minutes for the Bucks.

Wood will be active for the Herd Sunday afternoon when they take on the Canton Charge.

NBA Draft: Bucks select Michigan’s D.J. Wilson, trade for SMU’s Sterling Brown

The long and lanky Milwaukee Bucks became even more so in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft Thursday night.

Under the guidance of new general manager Jon Horst, who was just promoted to the job last Friday, the Bucks selected Michigan power forward D.J. Wilson with the 17th pick of the night.

The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Wilson averaged 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds during his sophomore campaign, but really started to play well down the stretch for the Wolverines. He had 17 points and six rebounds in a victory against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and averaged 16 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in the NCAA tournament as Michigan made a run to the Sweet 16.

Wilson’s career got off to a slow start, with a knee injury limiting him to just five games as a freshman. During the 2015-16 season, the California native was used minimally, appearing in 26 games but averaging just 6.1 minutes. His breakout came last season, as he paired with another big man, Moe Wagner, to form one of the better frontcourts in the Big Ten.

LISTEN: Bucks post-draft press conference

Considered more of a finesse scorer, Wilson will join a team stacked with length but in desperate need of some consistent outside shooting, which he should be able to help with, after hitting 37.3 percent of his 3-pointers a year ago.

In the second round, Milwaukee chose South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell with the 48th overall pick, but quickly traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers for cash considerations. They then went and acquired SMU’s Sterling Brown, who had been Philadelphia’s pick at No. 46.

As a senior, Brown averaged 13.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 44.9 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound, Brown is originally from Maywood, Ill.

Bucks confirm Horst will be next GM

MILWAUKEE — He may not have been their first choice, but the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t have to look far to find their next general manager.

The team confirmed on Friday evening that Jon Horst would be the next GM, promoting  the 34-year-old from director of player personnel. Horst has been with the Bucks organization since 2008.

It wasn’t exactly a straightforward hire for Milwaukee, who interviewed six candidates on June 5-6 in New York. That field was cut in half and interviewed in Milwaukee the following week. After it appeared the search had come down to Denver Nuggets executive Arturas Karnisovas and interim Bucks GM Justin Zanik, the Nuggets preempted Milwaukee’s next move by promoting him as their general manager.

After Karnisovas withdrew his name from consideration for the Milwaukee job, the feeling around much of the state was that Milwaukee would promote Zanik. That didn’t happen, mainly because of what was perceived to be some disagreement among the ownership group.

“Our No. 1 priority is building a championship-caliber organization and we believe Jon is the right person to be our general manager,” the Bucks’ ownership group said in a statement. “He has been an integral part of basketball operations for the last nine years, and has helped advise us on every major basketball decision since we purchased the team. Jon is very talented, capable, organized and someone we have leaned on for his strategic thinking and ability to execute our vision.”

Horst will be introduced on Monday with a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Reports suggest the Bucks plan to add a veteran executive to work alongside Horst during the transition.

Several big decisions are looming over the Bucks organization within the next few weeks. The NBA Draft begins on Thursday, which also happens to be the deadline for center Greg Monroe to exercise his nearly $18 million player option for a third year on his contract. Guard Tony Snell also becomes a restricted free agent on July 1.

Reports: Bucks to hire Horst as new GM

Amid internal strife, the Milwaukee Bucks apparently have their new general manager.

ESPN’s Mark Stein was the first to report the team would officially announce sometime Friday that they were elevating Jon Horst, their current director of basketball operations, to GM.

Earlier on Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ‘The Vertical,’ tweeted there was some “contentious ownership disagreement” over the search for John Hammond’s replacement. While interim GM Justin Zanik had the backing of owner Marc Lasry and coach Jason Kidd, there was no a clear consensus.

Horst has been with Milwaukee since 2008, and there were some reports that suggested that Hammond was considering him for a role with Orlando, where he is now the GM.

Zanik was thought to be the front runner when Hammond left last month, but the team conducted a vast search that has now lasted close to a month. During that time, Zanik has been preparing for the NBA draft, which is less than a week away.