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 →
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 →