A blend of issues tied to youth, injuries and a slow start caused the Milwaukee Bucks to take a step back this season, missing the playoffs after making the postseason the previous season. Despite an underwhelming 2015-16 campaign, the Bucks have a ton of potential with a promising core of Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton and can surely rise back up in the East over the course of the next several years.
To ensure that the Bucks’ future stays on the right path under the guidance of coach Jason Kidd, the franchise is planning on extending his contract. With Kidd expected to stick around, the Bucks have shifted their focus to the front office and have reportedly hired Justin Zanik as the team’s assistant GM from the Utah Jazz, where he had a similar role. Zaniki will reportedly be groomed to eventually take over the GM position from current GM John Hammond.
From The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Zanik, an assistant general manager with Utah, will join the Bucks with a similar job title – and an agreement that he will eventually become the successor to Milwaukee GM John Hammond, sources said.
Zanik has constructed a strong reputation within the league as a front-office executive and previously a player agent. Milwaukee was aggressive in pursuing him to eventually lead the franchise’s basketball operations
The Bucks are moving toward a contract extension with Kidd as coach, league sources said.
Wojnarowski reports that Hammond helped in the recruitment of Zanik, so perhaps he is OK with Milwaukee’s eventual succession plan.
With Kidd and Zanik now guiding the franchise, the Bucks front office and coaching position is set for at least the next couple of seasons. Owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry pushed to get a new stadium built and they will likely have playoff-level aspirations when the arena opens. That gives Kidd and Zanik until 2018 to get Milwaukee back in the playoffs and in the upper tier of the East, which seems quite doable if Parker and Antetokounmpo continue to develop and grow into potential All-Stars.