An Internet report that Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd is expected this week to add the team’s general manager title and duties was denied by several league sources Sunday night.
“Unequivocally not true,” a source told NBA.com, echoing the words in the report itself from Jake Suski, the Bucks’ vice president of communications.
The piece, posted by OnMilwaukee.com Sunday evening and reported by longtime Milwaukee sports and news journalist Dave Begel, had heft for several reasons.
First, Begel has been a fixture on Milwaukee’s sports scene for nearly four decades. Second, Kidd’s clout within the organization is considerable. In his first season, he led the Bucks from a 15-67 finish in 2013-14 to a 41-41 mark and a Eastern Conference playoff berth. Kidd also was seen by many as one of the draws for free agent big man Greg Monroe, who left Detroit and spurned interest from both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers to agree to a three-year, $50 million deal with Milwaukee.
And finally, Kidd’s arrival in Milwaukee happened so abruptly last June – being courted as head coach by co-owners (and Kidd friends) Marc Lasry and Wes Edens while Larry Drew still held the position – that it lent credibility to another possible grab at a job currently filled by John Hammond, the Bucks’ GM since 2008.
Here is an excerpt from Begel’s report:
The move will give Kidd the two titles he wanted and that played a part in his leaving the Brooklyn Nets for the job in Milwaukee.
Kidd had moved to get both jobs in Brooklyn to replace Billy King as general manager. He didn’t want King fired, but given a title in the organization.
The Nets turned him down and then the Bucks new owners asked permission to talk to Kidd and he moved to Milwaukee shortly thereafter.
Hammond was extended with a three year contract in 2013, an extension that paid him a total of $5.5 million. He has one year left on his contract and may either stay with the team in another capacity or move on. There are reports that he has been contacting other teams and may have a lead on a new job.
But even if the Bucks ownership cuts him loose, the final year of his contract is less than $2 million, an amount that they could be willing to eat.
There have been reports that this move was one of the things that lured Kidd to Milwaukee. Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Stan Van Gundy of the Pistons also hold both jobs.
It also cited a difference of opinion on draft night between Kidd and Hammond and his staff, with the coach favoring UNLV shooting guard Rashad Vaughn over Arkansas forward Bobby Portis. The Bucks chose Vaughn with the No. 17 overall pick.
One person familiar with Milwaukee’s draft room that night told NBA.com there was no disagreement over those two players.
Meanwhile, a league source did speculate that Kidd – based on his Brooklyn pursuit of personnel power – might one day add “something like they did with [Mike] Budenholzer in Atlanta, a ‘vice president or president of basketball’ title.” That wouldn’t necessarily mean a change in Hammond’s position within the team, the source added.