Greetings from your SOB Editor! These pages have been silent for almost a year now, but from time to time certain topics arise related to the history of the Bucks that deserve some commentary.
With the Bucks future in Milwaukee secure and the new arena groundbreaking coming up this month, it is a great time to be a Bucks fan. We can now emotionally invest in the team without the existential threat of relocation that hung over the franchise for much of the past decade.
That said, Bucks fans witnessed enough front office dysfunction the past quarter century that it is instructive from time to time to revisit some of the events of the past, to help guide a better path in the future. To that end, this piece will take on two topics. The first is how the Milwaukee Bucks, Herb Kohl and John Hammond were integral in building the NBA champion Golden State Warriors roster. Most in the media aren’t aware of how these two franchises intersected during the 2010-2012 period with personnel moves. We’ll also debunk a bit the recent blurb where former Bucks GM Mike Dunleavy relays how he had a tremendous deal in place to draft Kobe Bryant back in 1996 but was vetoed by owner Herb Kohl.
How the Bucks helped the Warriors grow
A decade ago, when Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks were atop the Western Conference, it was a common theme for NBA announcers to proclaim: “Boy, I bet the Milwaukee Bucks wished they never dealt Dirk Nowitzki to the Mavericks“. The reality of that story is a little more complicated, as the Mavericks made that 1998 draft day trade with the Bucks contingent on Nowitzki being available to them. Dirk had a strong relationship with the Mavericks front office and always was going to be a Maverick. He was never on the Bucks radar nor would he likely have come over from Europe to play for the Bucks.
That said, we haven’t heard much commentary from NBA announcers regarding key trades and decisions made by our Milwaukee Bucks that helped the current Warriors team come together (trade links courtesy of BasketballReference.com) : Continue reading →
We thought we’d take this time for some thoughts coming off this past week’s umm, interesting series of events.
Can the Bucks New Management Model Work?
As it relates to the head-coaching position, the Bucks experienced a significant upgrade with the hiring of Jason Kidd. After a rough start, by all accounts Kidd made significant adjustments in New Jersey last season, allowing the team to finish with a 34-17 record down the stretch, including reaching the second round of the playoffs. He employed some creative lineups and helped reclaim the careers of a few veterans as well. Kidd appears to hold significant promise as a coach in the NBA and we welcome him to Milwaukee.
Our questions of Kidd relate to his future input into player personnel matters. We at SaveOurBucks.com have been consistently in favor of an organizational model whereby the Bucks locate and hire a sharp General Manager, and provide that person with full organizational control. The GM in turn then hires their own coach, much like the model employed by the Green Bay Packers in 1991 when the team hired Ron Wolf, and he in turn identified his coach, sending a second round draft pick to the San Francisco 49’ers as compensation to free Mike Holmgren from his contract to come to Green Bay. That model is the one that works more often than not and has the fewest inherent conflicts. Models where there is an unclear delineation of power between the owner, coach and GM aren’t always the most successful. Continue reading →
If you thought the Bucks received a tremendous amount of national publicity for the selection of Jabari Parker, you are correct. Amazingly though, that level of coverage is now being eclipsed by the rumor that “current” Nets coach Jason Kidd is interviewing (or has interviewed) for the position of President of Basketball Operations (“POBO”) with Milwaukee.
We’ll examine the pros and cons of this situation from the perpsective of one of the cornerstones that this site is built on, namely the goal that the Milwaukee Bucks locate and hire their version of Ron Wolf, the man the Packers turned to in 1991 to change the team culture and turn the operation around.
Before we begin, a few housekeeping items. President of Basketball Operations is considered a higher title than General Manager. For some teams their POBO also serves as their GM. All indications from media reports are that Kidd is interviewing for the POBO position and not necessarily for the position of Head Coach. Kidd being offered and accepting the POBO position though wouldn’t necessarily preclude him from being the coach either now or in the future. It just would be an unusual situation as most POBO’s around the league are not their team’s head coach.
It was a wonderful evening for Bucks fans last night as the team secured the #2 pick in the upcoming draft. While we all would have liked the team to secure the top pick, remember that the alternatives were drafting #3 or #4. With the second pick the Bucks have a number of great options to explore between now and the NBA Draft on June 26th.
George Steinbrenner, Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban and Al Davis.
Collectively that may be the Mt. Rushmore of “hands-on” owners in professional sports.
Those four represent owners who are (or were) the face of their franchise. They took an open and active role in all aspects of franchise operation, right down to wanting to be involved in the calling of actual plays on the field.
In Part I last week, we examined the track record of Bucks’ General Manager John Hammond, and the fact that many of his player personnel moves tended to look like losers very quickly after they were made. Hammond apparently agrees with our take, since said players acquired or signed to a new contract have been so often traded by Hammond shortly thereafter. However, the question that has dominated the Bucks fan base the past two decades is exactly how responsible is the team’s general manager for the overall record and talent base of the team at any given moment?
Senator Herb Kohl has a long-standing reputation as a “hands-on” owner, similar to the NFL’s Jerry Jones and Al Davis, MLB’s George Steinbrenner, and the NBA’s Mark Cuban. While their respective franchises have had varying degrees of success, the fingerprints of their involvement in the management of their teams are obvious, often to the point of detriment. This article will explore how Senator Kohl’s reputation for this first came about, illustrate some of the historical instances of “meddling” and finally discuss how Kohl, much like his college roommate Bud Selig, has an opportunity for civic immortality if he is able to successfully navigate the Bucks to a long-term future in Milwaukee. Continue reading →
A superb piece from Grantland’s Amos Barshad went up today, if you haven’t yet read it you should. Barshad muses on all things Milwaukee Bucks but in particular on the focus and pressure being put on sublimely talented Bucks youngster Giannis Antetokounmpo and how important his development is to the Bucks future, as well as chronicling his inspiring past.
The piece also focusses on Senator Kohl’s tenure and gives SaveOurBucks.com a couple of solid shoutouts. Barshad met with Save Our Bucks own Paul Henning while in Milwaukee for the story recently and the two had a great chat, some of which is detailed in the article. Continue reading →
Ramon looking pleased during his first stint as a Buck; wearing #7, before Ersan wore #7, but after Ersan wore #19. Now Ramon wears #13, after Luke Ridnour had been #13 for the Bucks, twice. Confused?
Immediately after last week’s trade deadline we sent out a couple tweets regarding the Bucks trade of Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour to Charlotte for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien. On the surface, it was a good deal. The team dealt two players that didn’t fit, for two players that might fit better, and in the process saved $3.5 million in contract liabilities. Additionally, neither Sessions nor Adrien have guaranteed contracts for next season, so it may open up another roster spot for a new rookie moving forward.
Had this trade been made by a brand new Bucks front office we probably would have applauded it as a nice minor move, and not had much further to say. However when you put the trade into a larger multi-year context, we were struck by how the trade fit a revolving-door pattern that has been going on with the Bucks front office for many years now.
Giving an opinion on Twitter, while using only 140 characters, can be a challenging task, and a few of you let us know that you didn’t think this was our best work. The issue with our tweets was that we didn’t do a good job of laying the foundation for our thoughts on the trade as part of a larger, overall dysfunctional pattern of player asset management.
In today’s Part I we’ll look at how the Bucks roster under John Hammond has been a high-speed, revolving door of players who never seem to work out. In next week’s Part II, we will examine how much autonomy John Hammond or any Bucks General Manager has under the front office structure employed by Senator Kohl.
If you would like to obtain one of these shirts to wear to the BMO Harris Bradley Center, click on the link below. While John Hammond did announce recently that the Bucks are going to “rebuild”, let’s give him some moral support for the plan by showing these off at games.
You can see the shirt in action as worn by our beautiful SOB model above.
Another great piece from @KDonhoops over at yahoo! sports, this time focusing on something we’ve talked about quite a bit, the Milwaukee Bucks falling backwards into this disastrous season and calling it a strategy. Continue reading →
Kelly Dwyer has written another solid piece on the Milwaukee Bucks in his regular Ball Don’t Lie column over at yahoo! Sports. This one isn’t directly about saveourbucks.com but covers many topics that SOB is all about – including Larry Drew’s role and frustration levels with his team, GM John Hammond’s failings, and the general failure and impatience of the Milwaukee Bucks front office that has led to the catastrophic current Bucks outfit. Continue reading →