In today’s breaking news: prospective executive of the year candidate does fabulous job, gets rewarded for his efforts. It seems simple on its face when talking about Jon Horst’s reported three-year extension with the Milwaukee Bucks (first reported per Adrian Wojnarowski), but it’s a far cry from the rhetoric surrounding Horst when he was initially hired.
Since the bungled search effort that led to Justin Zanik getting ousted and left Horst standing at the end of a lengthy, unwieldy game of musical chairs, Horst has shown a great affinity for picking talent to surround his superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo with. This past season felt like a masterstroke in many respects, and Riley astutely laid out his potential argument to take home some hardware this offseason for his many moves. While he may not have had the ammunition to make a superstar acquisition in the same way Toronto did, his fringe moves made plenty of sense.
Brook Lopez is likely the best value free agent signing in Milwaukee Bucks history. Pat Connaughton is on a minimum contract for another season but played valuable playoff minutes. Dumping John Henson and Dellavedova’s contracts for solid contributor George Hill and clarification on this offseason has paid off nicely thus far. His draft picks have started to blossom under Mike Budenholzer’s tutelage even. The only real black marks might be a propensity to act quickly in free agency and pay a tad more than players are worth, but Ersan Ilyasova mostly played up to his contract this season while Tony Snell’s contract only looks so bad because Horst picked up too many other solid wings in the second round or off the scrap heap. Oh ya, and don’t forget the biggest move, hiring Mike Budenholzer in the first place.
It’s also a huge vote of confidence in the executive heading into a time where the governorship is about to switch hands from Wes Edens to Marc Lasry, and the Bucks are staring at perhaps their most important offseason in team history. The extension is well-deserved, but Horst is about to really earn those dollars in the weeks ahead as free agency looms.