After a surprising turnaround season in Milwaukee, Bucks GM John Hammond appears set to extend his stay in Milwaukee a bit longer. Meanwhile, his assistant GM David Morway will not be so fortunate.
With Hammond's existing deal due to expire at the end of the coming season, the Journal-Sentinel's Charles Gardner reports that the Bucks have extended Hammond's contract by one year. Via Bucks press release:
"A great deal of our team's success and progress is due to the vision and hard work of John," said Wes Edens, Bucks owner. "He's assembled a talented and competitive roster and we're very pleased that he will continue to lead basketball operations. With John and Coach Kidd at the helm, our young team has a very bright future."
The move means that both Hammond and Jason Kidd have contracts running through the 16/17 season, further reinforcing the Bucks' ongoing insistence that they aren't looking to hand Kidd full control over personnel decisions. That might not put Hammond and Kidd on the same footing more broadly, but it does align decisions on their next contracts, which you'd imagine will happen by sometime next summer.
The Bucks probably had to make a decision on Hammond sooner rather than later, so taking care of it now allows everyone to focus on the more important task of building on last year's 26-win improvement. Lame duck situations for coaches and GMs aren't generally conducive to overall success, though that didn't stop Herb Kohl from starting the 12/13 season with both Hammond and Scott Skiles on expiring deals. While Skiles was later fired after a 16-16 start, Hammond eventually signed a new three-year extension in January of 2013.
I have a hard time seeing the team's new ownership take the lame duck approach next year -- especially given the team's success since Kidd's arrival -- so you'd guess that the team will hope to sort out a long-term solution with Kidd and Hammond by next summer. That might prove a more interesting dance with Kidd than Hammond, though the close relationship between Kidd and owner Marc Lasry certainly won't hurt the Bucks' hopes of retaining Kidd under reasonable terms.
Hammond was hired by Herb Kohl way back in 2008, eventually collecting NBA Executive of the Year honors in 2010 for his work building the 46-win "Fear the Deer" team. While the following seasons disappointed, Hammond survived the team's ownership transition and has overseen the rebuilding of the team with its current young core, most notably snatching up Giannis Antetokounmpo at the #15 spot in the 2013 draft and shipping Brandon Jennings to Detroit for Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight (who later was dealt for Michael Carter-Williams). While the team may still be another couple years from contending for anything meaningful, Hammond deserved the chance to see how far he can take the promising roster he's built. Now he'll have it.
The decision to part ways with Morway after two years as Hammond's right-hand man comes as more of a surprise, though the direction they go for his replacement will likely tell us a fair bit about the underlying rationale. Morway landed in Milwaukee in the summer of 2013, fresh off a falling out with Larry Bird that cost him his GM job and ended a 13-year tenure in Indiana. Still, Morway was well-regarded around the league as detailed-oriented and forward thinking. You might guess that the Bucks will target someone younger and with a strong background in analytics and cap management to take over the assistant GM job, though at this point it's not clear when that might happen.