The Milwaukee Bucks and general manager John Hammond recently agreed to terms on a three-year, $5.8 million contract extension that will keep Hammond with the Bucks through the 2015-16 season. It's an interesting move for the franchise -- considering the team has missed the playoffs the past two years and former head coach Scott Skiles walked away from the squad less than one month ago -- and there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic (or pessimistic) about the long-term pact.
Hammond's tenure in Milwaukee has been a mixed bag. Most of the success was front-loaded into the Fear the Deer season of 2009-10, and his worst moments arguably came in the wake of that surprise season. John Salmons and Luke Ridnour helped to carry the Bucks to the playoffs that year, but they received different treatment during the off-season. While Hammond parted ways with Ridnour (who has been very solid in Minnesota on an affordable deal), the Bucks signed John Salmons (who turned back into normal John Salmons when ink hit the paper on his big-money deal), added Drew Gooden to the mix on a five-year, $32 million deal and traded for Corey Maggette.
Hammond spent the better part of the next year looking for a replacement for Ridnour and a way to unload Salmons' crummy deal -- thanks for Beno Udrih, Kings! -- and Maggette eventually turned into Stephen Jackson (fail). S-Jax caused problems and Andrew Bogut never quite recovered from his nasty fall on April 3, 2010, so now the Bucks have Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh on the team. The wheels have been spinning, but the team hasn't gone anywhere but backwards since the FTD run.
Then again, here the Bucks are at 22-18 in a weak Eastern Conference with a shot at replicating the magical run that reinvigorated a largely dormant fan base waiting for a clear signal of hope. Hammond's draft picks, Brandon Jennings and Larry Sanders, are leading the charge, and his prime free agent addition of the past two years (Mike Dunleavy) has been integral as well. The fact that Ersan Ilyasova is starting to remind us why the Bucks committed $32 million deal to him over the summer helps, too.
Should fans be happy about Hammond's new deal with the Bucks? Does the power structure of the organization and Herb Kohl's influence on the direction of the franchise render the conversation moot?
We take a look backwards, and then we turn our attention to the future in our audio assessment of the re-up. Will things go down a bit differently at the trade deadline now that Hammond has more security? Take a listen and find out what we think about the move.
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